Latornell Leadership Awards

Since 1999, the Latornell Conservation Symposium has honoured individuals who have made significant contributions either professionally, or as volunteers to the conservation movement in Ontario.

The award is named in memory of Arthur D. Latornell, one of Ontario’s earlier leading conservationists, a supporter of conservation authorities and stronger mentor to young conservationist professionals.

The Leadership award recognizes people who have demonstrated outstanding contributions demonstrating innovation, leadership and dedication to the conservation field.

Quick Facts

An individual who has demonstrated leadership accomplishments in the conservation field is eligible for this award. Such contributions could be through work, career or volunteer experiences.

These contributions can include but are not limited to:

  • Conservation legislation/policy development/reform
  • Conservation innovation i.e. best management practices in forestry, agriculture, water technology/techniques/management
  • Habitat enhancement – restoration/rehabilitation projects
  • Conservation research/fieldwork/studies
  • Concepts in Sustainability
  • Environmental education/communications
  • Natural resource management/planning
  • Advocacy
  • Community organization

Nominations are typically made by organizations and agencies involved in conservation such as Conservation Authorities, non profit organizations, government agencies, and universities.

An organization or agency can make one nomination per year.

A committee is appointed each year by the Latornell Conservation Symposium and typically includes representatives from the organizing committee, Conservation Ontario and the University of Guelph.
Latornell Leadership Award Recipients are recognized at the Leadership Awards Luncheon held during the Latornell Conservation Symposium in November of each year.

A gift and/or plaque is presented to each recipient.

A plaque with all the recipients’ names is displayed at the Centre for Land and Water Stewardship, University of Guelph.

1999 was the first year that the Pioneer Awards were presented. From 1999 – 2019, 103 deserving individuals have received this Award.

Past Award Recipients


2019 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Forests Ontario

Don Huff

Don is an influential advocate for the environment – for over four decades his career has focused on advancing winning environmental campaigns. He has thrived at the leading edge of conservation and environmental campaigning in both political and advocacy settings. As Ontario Nature’s Conservation Director, he worked tirelessly to establish the Bruce National Park, 155 Provincial Parks, and Untaxing Nature.

He was on the Premier’s Temagami Working Group (near his home town) and led ENGO participation at the Timber Management Class EA Hearing. As a researcher at Queens Park, he wrote questions for Question Period. Don was the founding staffer of Environmental Defence.

Other contributions include drafting a tri-nation migratory songbird treaty, undertaking Parks Canada’s Marine Park Public Consultation Program and writing the Draft Policy.

Don has been a volunteer Board member of many organizations, including: the Sierra Club, the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment, Green Roofs for Health Cities and the Ontario Provincial Parks Board.

He has made pivotal contributions to many initiatives, including the 50 Million-Tree program, ending the spring bear hunt, several “polluter pays” interventions by Friends of the Earth-Canada at the Supreme Court of Canada and precedent setting First Nations and wild salmon lawsuits in BC.

He is a trusted advisor, providing strategic counsel and media advice to Ontario’s Chief Energy Conservation Officer, two Environmental Commissioners and countless politicians, business leaders and ENGOs. Additionally, he has help to shape the energy efficiency agenda, through “brand development” of energy efficient housing and conservation programs. He has deployed award-winning marketing and outreach campaigns – such as the “Save-On Energy” coupon programs. Currently, he Chairs the Global Advisory Board for Elocity, an EV tech company.

A recent Clean50 Award recognized his work delivering 25,000 energy efficiency kits to on-reserve First Nations households and wood stove change-outs in Nishnawbe Aski Nation communities accessed by ice roads.

Don’s firm ECO Strategy continues to provide strategic counsel and successful campaigns. He is proud of ECO Strategy’s legacy of staff he has mentored, who continue to make contributions to conservation. He is grateful for clients who enabled him to do what he loves.

Nominating Agency: Hamilton Conservation Authority

Bruce Mackenzie

Bruce has led a dynamic life since graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Fish and Wildlife Biology from the University of Guelph in 1976. Bruce has always provided quiet leadership with a track record of getting things done. This was certainly true during his long career with the Hamilton Conservation Authority as well as through his numerous volunteer endeavors.

Over his 39 year career with the Authority, Bruce rose steadily through the ranks. The majority of his time was spent as Manager of Fifty Point Conservation Area and as Director of Customer Services. Bruce oversaw the operation and growth of Fifty Point Marina, the development of Fifty Point campground and the enhancement and restoration of Fifty Point’s natural features in an area of Hamilton that was becoming increasingly urbanized.

Bruce has always been dedicated to conserving the natural heritage features of the lands in the Hamilton area while promoting the public’s understanding and enjoyment of these natural features.

Bruce walks the talk – what stands out is his dedication to conservation and the environment outside his role with the Conservation Authority. This is evident through through his community work both in Hamilton and Grimsby. In the past Bruce has been part of the Niagara Peninsula Hawk Watch, Friends of the Grimsby Wetland Project, and Save the Woodlot Campaign. He is still very active with the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, where he is the Bird Study Group Director, and is also the Co-ordinator and Founder of the Peach Tree Christmas Bird Count.

Bruce is a Commissioner of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, and a volunteer with the Owl Foundation in Vineland. He has written articles for various conservation-focused publications including The Wood Duck (monthly journal of the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club) and Niagara Escarpment Views. Speaking to naturalist clubs and community groups are still hobbies. Bruce’s successes in his career and community work have led to numerous awards.

Bruce lives in Grimsby with his wife Laurie.

Nominating Agency: Southern Ontario Stream Monitoring and Research Team

John Parish

John was a pioneer in the field of fluvial geomorphology and a champion for natural river restoration – studying rivers and river processes, and how they influence the lands around them.

John was involved in conservation issues right from his first post graduate job. Starting his career at Ortech Inc., John worked for over 25 years doing surveys and assessments of hundreds of watercourses ranging from large rivers to small streams across Canada and the United States, spearheading numerous channel rehabilitation projects focused on using natural channel design principles. In 1997 he proudly founded PARISH Geomorphic Ltd. and merged his company with Matrix Solutions Inc. in 2015. Over his career, John was instrumental in the development of policies and implementation guidelines for the inclusion of fluvial geomorphology in watershed management in Ontario. John explored how the newly emerging science of fluvial geomorphology could be incorporated into watershed management approaches. He helped develop the Natural Channel Design Manual (NCDM) and its monitoring and assessment methods. He also worked as part of a team in developing a stream classification system for use in the characterization of watershed drainage systems. That the Ontario Stream Assessment Protocol methods are rooted in geomorphic principles is due to John’s ability to communicate effectively. This fundamental change in thinking ensured that stream ecology and management must be an integrated science and John was at the forefront of this thinking.

John started promoting these new approaches to river management across North American. This expertise earned him the nickname “The River Doctor”. John Parish was most enthusiastic when he was standing in a stream teaching and sharing his knowledge about fluvial geomorphology and natural stream processes. He was a passionate teacher and mentor throughout his career, eventually forming REACH Training.

John’s legacy can be easily traced through the actions of current professionals he influenced over the course of his career, as well as the many river projects he completed within a stone’s roll from anywhere you go in the GTA. As a testament to his impact on the industry over the years, a significant number of John’s former staff have gone on to important roles in consulting, conservation and other environmental professions.

John promoted innovative thinking in the design of natural channels leaving behind ardent proponents and natural channel design enthusiasts who continue this legacy.

Outside of his professional life, John was devoted to his family, and was often found coaching his children’s soccer, hockey or baseball teams.

Nominating Agency: Credit Valley Conservation

Mike Puddister

Over the course of his very distinguished 40 year career working with conservation authorities, Mike Puddister spent almost 34 years with Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) before his retirement this year (2019). During his time with CVC, he had a transformational impact on the Credit River watershed, the residents who live there, and his staff and colleagues.

At CVC Mike has worked in or overseen numerous departments, divisions and functions. He oversaw many public engagement and education activities including development of programs such as Countryside Stewardship, Greening Corporate Grounds, Your Green Yard, CVC’s multicultural Outreach Program and the Health and Wellness Outreach Program.

Following development of new planning policy in 1995, Mike established the first natural heritage program to support implementation of new municipal responsibilities within the Credit River watershed. In late 1990s, through collaboration with Ministry of Natural Resources and other partners, Mike coordinated CVCs role in field testing and writing of the Ecological Land Classification for Southern Ontario.

In 2007, through a partnership with CVC and University of Guelph, Mike played a major role in establishing the first municipally-based watershed management agency in Mexico. This agency was based on Ontario’s Conservation Authorities and specifically Credit Valley Conservation. He also initiated and oversaw pioneering research in ecological goods and services at CVC, which has been at the forefront of this work in Canada.

Mike was instrumental in the initiation and organization of EcoHealth Ontario (EHO). His passion for environment and health is unparalleled and his extensive contributions have been instrumental in the continued success of EHO. Mike was among the first to consistently promote an “ecohealth” approach and healthy watersheds for healthy people.

Mike felt strongly in inspiring the next generation and has spearheaded multiple major initiatives to educate young people in the conservation field. A couple of highlights include overseeing creation of the Conservation Youth Corps program involving over 2,500 students who have contributed over 65,000 volunteer hours, supporting hundreds of stewardship projects; and re-establishment and expansion of CVC’s Education Program reaching over 375,000 participants.


2018 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Sudbury Source Protection Authority

Nels Conroy

Nels Conroy served as President of the Water Environment Association of Ontario. Nels was appointed as Chair of the Sudbury Source Protection Committee in August 2007 retiring earlier this year. He holds an undergraduate degree in Biology from University of Guelph and a Masters in Aquatic Chemistry from McMaster University. His career began as an aquatic biologist working on the impact of uranium mining operations and he retired (for the first time) as Vice President of Operations for the Ontario Clean Water Agency.

He has been involved in aspects of the freshwater environment throughout his career from the role of aquatic biology in benchmarking water quality to directing the operations of water and wastewater treatment plants. He made significant contributions to the study of acid rain impacts and has authored many publications on the aquatic environment including acid rain impacts and restoration of the aquatic ecosystem. He was instrumental in the conception and implementation of the plan to protect Sudbury’s drinking water.

Nels is very active in other pursuits as well. He was the Associate Director of the Ontario Outdoors Writers assisting new writers with the craft. In this and other pursuits, Nels’ passion for inspiring young people to endorse conservation ideals has been forefront. He was instrumental in the program to restore elk in Ontario and headed the Sudbury Elk Restoration Committee leading their effort to top international status for raising funds for the project.

Nels is a long-standing member of Science North’s Science Committee and continues to volunteer for the Canadian Cancer Society. A recent new adventure saw him in North Bay volunteering for the World Women’s Curling Championship.

Nels and Carol have two children and six grand children. He thinks it’s his job to ensure the grandchildren follow in his footsteps and become experienced outdoors enthusiasts. He quips “it is a tough job but someone has to do it.”

Nominating Agency: Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority

Shelley Macpherson

Shelley joined the RVCA in January 1990 as a Resource Technician for Planning and Regulations. Her role evolved over the years and for the last 25+ years she has been responsible mainly for reviewing retroactive applications, compliance and enforcement issues under the Conservation Authorities Act.

She has been a Provincial Offences Officer (since 1993) and was voted, in her class, as the most likely to marry a violator! She was instrumental in the updating of the Enforcement Proposed Amendments in 2012 which compose the regulatory backbone of the new Conservation Authorities Act. Shelley is viewed as an invaluable resource by environmental enforcement staff across the various conservation authorities and in numerous provincial ministries. Shelley is also a leader in the development of the Regulatory Compliance Guidelines which provide a guideline for use by conservation authorities in their enforcement of the regulation.

She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Carleton University in Geography and a Diploma in Municipal Administration from St. Lawrence College in Kingston. She was a member of the Latornell Steering Committee for five years and is a ten year member of Conservation Ontario’s Regulatory Compliance Committee which includes organizing training opportunities for regulations staff across the Province.

People who work in the environmental enforcement field are often faced with very stressful situations. Environmental regulation is never popular. Shelley has faced this stress with humour, a positive attitude and being well-versed with the players and facts of the situation. Although it is her strong understanding of the regulations and policies that make her such an important asset to other enforcement professionals, it is Shelley’s positive approach to stressful conditions that can be equally helpful to people who consider her a mentor. Shelley is equally proud of her record where cases are resolved by voluntary and negotiated compliance than that of any prosecution. She believes better public education of the regulations and its purpose can reduce compliance issues and long term impacts for floodplains, slopes, wetlands, and shorelines.

Nominating Agency: Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Brian Denney

Brian Denney graduated from the University of Guelph in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a major in Water Resources Engineering. He commenced work with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) in 1974 and remained with the TRCA in various positions of increasing responsibility. He became CAO of the organization in 2003 and CEO in 2012. He completed his career at TRCA in December of 2017.

Under his leadership the TRCA offered broad programs in resource conservation and sustainability. The scope of programs and projects included working with developers of new communities to have appropriate regard for natural hazards and to contribute to the regional greenspace system while providing appropriate storm water management controls.

His efforts also included leading the organization to implement a number of diverse programs ranging from heritage conservation to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Under his leadership TRCA created many new parks and trail systems along the Lake Ontario waterfront and throughout the valley and ravine systems of the GTA. He led TRCA’s major contributions to the establishment of the Rouge National Urban Park. Efforts to advance the green building movement throughout the Toronto region was one of Brian’s major objectives and he served on the national board of the Canada Green Building Council for six years. His work has been recognized by awards from the Canada Green Building Council and from Sustainable Buildings Canada.

Nominating Agency: Quinte Conservation

Terry Murphy

Terry Murphy has spent over forty-three years in the conservation field. During that time he has had a lasting positive influence on the environment in the area surrounding Quinte Conservation. Terry served on various committees including: The Eastern Ontario Smart Growth Panel, The Bay of Quinte Remedial Action Plan Restoration Council, Conservation Ontario Communications Committee, and the Tourism and Recreation Committee. Terry was intimately involved in the Big Island Compensation Project which involved a substantial restoration of a wetland ecosystem creating a habitat for aquatic and terrestrial species alike, as well as the construction of the Wellington Channel, leading staff to develop a state of the art flood forecasting system and supported municipalities through several floods and droughts.

Terry is a true leader and forward thinker. He was an early proponent of green technology which helped with the development of an electric dam on the Moira River. He introduced hybrid cars to the Quinte Conservation fleet in the early 2000’s and has since added a fully electric car. His abilities as a leader were put to the test in 1994 when the funding to conservation authorities was severely reduced. Terry recognized that more had to be accomplished with less. Just two years after the drastic funding reductions Terry was able to shape a consensus such that The Moira River CA, Prince Edward Region CA, and Napanee Region CA be amalgamated into one unified conservation authority – Quinte Conservation.

Terry has been a proponent of making people aware of their environment and conservation. Originally, as General Manager of the Moira River Conservation Authority, he actively promoted education and stewardship in order to improve engagement in conservation among various members of the community. He carried this vision of increasing community involvement in environmental conservation over to Quinte Conservation – where his goal of offering as many low cost (or free) programs as possible has been realized. Terry realized that nature belongs to everyone and his work with the development of the accessible trail system at Potter’s Creek Conservation Area is a testament to that belief.


2017 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Regional Municipality of Durham

Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly has been a ground-breaking innovator for all of his 47 years of practice in the field of environmental stewardship. His co-founding of Pollution Probe and subsequent efforts to reduce the level of phosphates in the Great Lakes in the 1960’s was reflected in the amendments to the Canada Water Act which resulted in a 50% reduction in Lakes Erie’s phosphate levels by 1975. Brian led the development of the Renewable Energy Technologies Strategy and Program at Ontario Hydro – representing the utility at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. He had a lead role in developing the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Ontario Roundtable on Environment and Economy and currently coordinates the Durham Region Roundtable on Climate Change. Brian introduced The Natural Step to Canada, is a board member of the Clean Air Council and even finds time to participate in the sustainability committee at his church.

In terms of succession, Brian has ensured that his work will be carried on by future generations. As the co-director of the Sustainability and Education Academy, his goal is to inspire school teachers across Canada to integrate sustainability education into all subjects rather than as an individual course. At the upper end of the education spectrum Brian is the founding Director of the Sustainable Enterprise Academy at York University’s Schulich School of Business where he is also an instructor for the Business Strategies for Sustainability and Environment programs. Brian frequently presents on climate, energy, and conservation issue at community events.

Nominating Agency: Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority

Geoff Peach

Geoff Peach was an environmental advocate whose actions and influence spanned 3 decades along the Lake Huron coast. He is best known for bringing people together in the common cause of coastal stewardship for the health of the Lake. He packed a lot into these years and leaves a substantial legacy reflected in his body of work as an author, in co-founding the Lake Huron Coastal Centre and in a coastal scholarship now being developed in his name.

Graduating in 1985 from Western University with an Honours B.A. Degree majoring in Geography, he joined the workforce at the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority (CA) from 1986-1987 and then moved north to work a joint position shared with the Saugeen Valley CA and with the Maitland Valley CA (1987-1997) as co-employers. During this time with the CA’s he advanced shoreline management and promoted wise stewardship. He embedded himself in the community where he lived and raised his family, joined as a Director with the Maitland Valley Foundation and acted as Chairperson for the TD Friends of the Environment – Goderich Branch.

Geoff co-founded with Patrick Donnelly the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation (the Coastal Centre) in 1998 and served as a Coastal Resource Manager till his passing in 2017. During this time he authored over 24 publications on Coastal Resource Management and regularly acted as a presenter at conferences and workshops. He also continued his professional affiliations as a Canadian Certified Environmental Professional (2003) and was a longstanding member of the Canadian Coastal Science & Engineering Association.

As a mentor and educator, Geoff’s legacy remains in the shoreline communities, municipal staff and politicians and the approximately 20 staff he tutored during the subsequent 19 years at the Coastal Centre. The keen and eager students of conservation all went on graduating into jobs at all levels of government, private consulting, teaching at universities and in research positions in several environmental non-profit organizations. His expertise in coastal management, especially in the field of beach and dune ecosystems, meant his work was known and respected from all over the Great Lakes to Australia and California. He had a unique gift of using humour and story telling to explain and articulate how the “coast works”.

Nominating Agency: Ontario Streams

Mark Heaton

Mark Heaton’s contributions to conservation in Ontario have been diverse and far reaching for more than 30 years. As is often the case with leaders such as Mark – his influence extends well beyond his job as a biologist with Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. He is a founding member of Ontario Streams where he co-wrote Ontario’s Stream Rehabilitation Manual (2003). Mark has been the science advisor for the unique fisheries at Beauchene Wilderness Lodge (Que.) for 20 years. In Ontario, he has worked with TRCA to mitigate several barriers to trout and salmon on the Humber River, linking Lake Ontario to the upper watershed in Caledon and King townships. Mark led the planning, design and construction of the Milne Fishway on Rouge River and coordinated transfers of adult Rainbow Trout at Norval Dam in conjunction with the Credit River Anglers Association. He contributed to the development of the SiltSmart turbidity monitoring protocol to protect Redside Dace during urban development of adjacent lands. He is a member of various recovery teams including; Redside Dace, Atlantic Salmon and the Peregrine Falcon. Mark’s interest in the Peregrine Falcon goes back many years and he has banded in excess of 500 Peregrine chicks over the past two decades.

Mark has been diligent at ensuring that the knowledge he has gained continues to be made available to the community and especially to future generations. Throughout his career Mark has worked directly with landowners, educating them on the importance of land use to river health and the further linkages to human health. These efforts have resulted in numerous projects including livestock fencing, barrier mitigation and fish species reintroduction. Mark helped to create the Atlantic Salmon Classroom Hatchery Program which engages students in habitat restoration efforts while fostering a sense of ownership towards the environment. Under this Program Mark oversees 10 classroom hatcheries which have released 50,000 hatchery fish into local watersheds. Mark has been and continues to be a mentor for young conservationists by getting them actively involved in such undertakings as bringing students to the river for fish releases or for the banding of Peregrine Falcon chicks.

Nominated by Past & Current Students of the Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Carleton University

Dr. Steven Cooke

Dr. Steven J. Cooke ( is a Canada Research Chair and Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa. Cooke began working seasonally as a summer student for the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) in 1991 doing outreach and aquatic habitat restoration when he was in high school. Cooke parlayed that experience with the GRCA into a research career focused on mission-oriented partnership science related to the management of fish and aquatic resources. Although the majority of the research in his lab is focused on fish ecology, physiology, and behaviour, Cooke is also engaged in research on human dimensions, knowledge mobilization, and policy. In 2015 he founded the Canadian Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation which synthesizes information for policy makers. His research findings (600+ peer reviewed publications) have informed fish passage solutions and habitat restoration activities, addressed issues related to fish and turtle bycatch, and led to innovations in recreational fisheries management. He has also worked to raise the profile of freshwater fish so they are considered in decisions related to resource development in Canada and beyond. Cooke has been recognized for his ability to engage in partnership research and train the next generation of conservation practitioners (e.g., Roderick Haig-Brown Award from the Canadian Wildlife Federation, NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Award given to top six under-40 Canadian scientists or engineers annually, elected to the College of the Royal Society of Canada). Cooke has held leadership positions including the President of the Canadian Aquatic Resources Section of the American Fisheries Society. He has served as Chair for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission Sea Lamprey Research Board since 2011 and is Editor or editorial board member for seven journals where he specializes in handling papers that deal with freshwater fish (e.g., for Environmental Biology of Fishes, Endangered Species Research, Restoration Ecology).


2016 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: The City of London

Thom McClenaghan

A native Londoner, Thom McClenaghan has been actively engaged as a leader in local conservation issues since the 1980s. His innovation through his role as school principal led to the creation of the Arthur Ford Nature Park, at Arthur Ford Public School in London, ON; the first Public Elementary School possibly in Canada to intentionally link education and the natural world together in this format. The Park was officially opened in 1992 and 25 years later, he continues to be involved with the flourishing of the Park he inspired, providing the next generation with an appreciation of nature and an understanding of the importance of conservation.

Thom is also responsible for helping spearhead the movement to protect the Coves Environmentally Significant Area (ESA) and the Coves Subwatershed in the heart of London. His leadership, vision and drive to protect the Coves helped lead to the formation of the Friends of the Coves Subwatershed Inc. (FOTCSI) in 1999. Projects have involved removal of invasive species, creation of safe environment for endangered species such as the Eastern meadowlark, tree planting, creation of trails for public access, and public education.

Due partly to his perseverance, FOTCSI was able to initiate and raise funds that led to the completion of the Coves Subwatershed Study in 2004 with its 59 recommendations; and in 2014, his efforts once again helped lead to the completion of the Coves ESA Conservation Master Plan.

Thom McClenaghan continues to work with the City of London and other likeminded stakeholders to support them in their studies as well as their goals. His leadership ensures enhanced community enjoyment, understanding and appreciation for the Coves.

Nominating Agency: Otonabee Region Conservation Authority

Richard Hunter

Dick Hunter has over 37 years of influential work in conservation and natural resources management. After participating in the Junior Conservationist program in 1968, he became one of Art Latornell’s protégés. In 1972, as a student, Dick supervised one of the largest crews of ‘‘Students Working in an Environmental Enhancement Program’’ (SWEEP) at the Long Point Region Conservation Authority. From 1973 to 1987, he worked with Conservation Authorities (CAs) and the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), administering the CA program. During this time, Dick was actively involved in the Ontario Chapter of the Soil & Water Conservation Society, serving as President in 1976.

With MNR, he served as Deputy Regional Director of the North Central Region and Regional Director of the Northeast and Southcentral Regions from 1987 to 2000. In these positions, Dick dealt with a variety of issues like the Matchewan Tailings Pond Spill near Kirkland Lake in 1990,and the aftermath of the Ice Storm in Eastern Ontario in 1998.

Shortly after the Walkerton tragedy in 2000, Dick returned to his CA roots as General Manager of Conservation Ontario until 2005. One of his most significant accomplishments was the strong leadership role he played in the development of the Drinking Water Source Protection Program. With his guidance, 36 CAs worked together to develop their technical capacity and achieved credibility in all aspects of this field, thus enabling them to take on a significant role in implementation.

Dick’s final career challenge was serving 4 years as CAO at Otonabee Conservation, bringing his leadership abilities to the management and protection of natural resources in his hometown. During this time, he also served two years as Chair of the Steering Committee for the Latornell Conservation Symposium.

Dick has always applied energy and passion in everything he does. His enthusiasm inspired young people and colleagues alike. Dick is known as a champion of the conservation cause, and by extension a role model to those who have worked with him.

Nominating Agency: Saugeen Nature

Clarke Birchard

For more than 36 years, Clarke Birchard was an educator in a variety of roles and a strong proponent of outdoor education. His career included time as a classroom teacher, principal, a science master at London Teachers’ College, instructor of environmental science for Nipissing University Faculty of Education at the Leslie M. Frost Natural Resources Centre (MNR) and 20 years as Supervisor of Outdoor Education for the Bruce County Board of Education. Throughout those years he was often a presenter at conferences, workshops and courses for teachers. Throughout retirement he continues to volunteer for many organizations, sharing his knowledge and providing valuable input. Clarke is one to roll up his sleeves and offer help whenever called upon.

He was a charter member and director for the Council of Outdoor Education of Ontario. In 1983, Clarke received the COEO President’s Award for outstanding achievement in the development of outdoor education in Ontario. In 1985, he received an Honorary Life Membership for 10 or more years of distinguished service to that organization.

Clarke served 7 years on the Ontario Nature Board of Directors and was chair of the Nature Reserves Committee for 5 of those years. His appreciation of, and dedication to Ontario Nature runs deep. Under Clarke’s guidance pine plantations were thinned, forests were restored, species at risk were counted, dangerous buildings were demolished and acres upon acres of important lands were added to Ontario Nature’s network of nature reserves. He has received conservation awards from Ontario Nature and Saugeen Nature. He is a co-author of the book Geology and Landforms of Bruce and Grey Counties, written along with a group of friends to help residents and visitors understand and appreciate the landscape on which they live, work and travel.

Clarke was one of the founders of the Grey Bruce Children’s Water Festival established in 2000 to teach students about the importance of the conservation and stewardship of our water resources. At the time, it was one of the first water festivals held in a rural area.

Nominating Agency: Toronto and Region Conservation

Gord MacPherson

Gord MacPherson established one of the longest running fisheries monitoring programs on the north shore of Lake Ontario more than 28 years ago. This work helped promote the development of regionally based aquatic habitat planning, including the Integrated Shoreline Management Plan (1996) and the Toronto Waterfront Aquatic Habitat Restoration Strategy (TWAHRS) (2003) in which he played instrumental roles.

Gord also contributed to the establishment of Aquatic Habitat Toronto (AHT), a multi-agency partnership group responsible for the implementation of TWAHRS. This creation helped direct substantial investments into major shoreline and aquatic habitat enhancement projects that Gord helped steer, including; coastal marsh restoration at Duffin’s Corner Marsh, Frenchman’s Bay and the Toronto Islands. His expertise is invaluable to the Toronto Remedial Action Plan, helping to guide projects that make significant habitat gains in the Toronto Area of Concern.

Gord has been involved in conservation issues for more than 34 years and his most meaningful contributions have been with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). He also works with others in the environmental field to pass on his experiences and his knowledge. On a daily basis, Gord talks to the public about fish and other wildlife that live in Toronto’s natural areas and inspires them to contribute to conservation in simple, but meaningful ways.

Working with Gord at the conservation authority has allowed many people to gain a solid start to their conservation careers, exposing them to a wide variety of conservation stewardship, restoration, and environmental monitoring projects. Gord’s ability to effectively communicate always puts people at ease, which has helped many generations in understanding various important conservation issues.

Nominating Agency: Waterloo Wellington Children’s Groundwater Festival

Peter Gray

Peter Gray is a hydrogeologist with over 30 years of experience in the water industry. He is an entrepreneur who, at 32, started his own environmental consulting business, Frontline Environmental, before merging with MTE Consultants Inc. in 2007, where he is currently the Vice-President of the Environmental Division. His interest in water science began while obtaining his degree in Earth Science from the University of Waterloo, where he sits on various committees promoting the water industry.

As a hydrogeologist and a father, he saw the need to educate our youth about the importance of water and the environment. As volunteer Chair of Groundwater Education Ontario in 1993, he began to develop the concept of hosting a Canadian Children’s Groundwater Festival. In partnership with industry, the University of Waterloo, and the Grand River Conservation Authority, the first Canadian children’s water festival was held in Milton, in 1994.

Peter Gray and the Waterloo Wellington Children’s Groundwater Festival have been recognized for achievements in their efforts to educate students about the importance of environmental issues. Peter was presented with the June Callwood Award in 2015 for his volunteer commitment and dedication in the implementation of water and environmental education programs throughout Ontario Over 700,000 children have attended a water festival at one of 30 different locations across the Province.

Peter helped create the Children’s Water Education Council in 2001. The Council has a simple mandate; respect our water sources, and preserve it for future generations. He has also developed an Environmental Leadership camp for high school students, and a field camp for junior high students.

Peter Gray’s knowledge of hydrogeology and commitment to educating our youth has been instrumental in designing activities for Water Festivals. His leadership at the local Children’s Groundwater Festival level as well as his commitment to educating youth about their connection to water and the environment across the province, has seen much support by many educators and is well deserved.


2015 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: St. Clair Region Conservation Authority

Muriel Andreae

From a young age, Muriel Andreae has been captivated by natural history and botany. As a child, she grew up being very much involved with London’s local naturalist club, Nature London (NL). From 1983 to 1991, Muriel served as Recording Secretary; in 2013 she became Vice President of NL. Since 2014, Muriel has served as the club’s President. During her recent tenure, she has been involved in strategic planning and led actions to help protect Ontario’s pollinators.

In 1998, Muriel helped develop the Thames Talbot Land Trust (TTLT) where she diligently worked to protect natural areas. She provided strong leadership, as a Director from 2004 to 2006, and President from 2006 to 2010. She served on various committees including Land Securement, Property Management, and Governance.

While involved in conservation as a volunteer, Muriel worked for the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority (SCRCA) from 1981 to 2015 in land management, water management, planning and research, including working with the Board of Directors to explain water quality and the interactions between land use and water.

She played a critical role in projects and programs relating to Healthy Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair Coastal Habitat, Sydenham River Recovery Team (Co-chair), Watershed Report Cards, the Lambton Natural Heritage Study and the Ontario Freshwater Mussel Recovery Team. She also played an important role in the development of a partnership between Conservation Authorities and Fisheries and Oceans Canada for municipal drainage review programs.

Muriel was instrumental in the formation of strong agency partnerships which helped achieve significant accomplishments for the recovery of endangered and threatened fish and freshwater mussel species at risk. This included the completion of Canada’s first aquatic ecosystem-based recovery strategy, on the Sydenham River. She promoted the conservation of species at risk and partnered with DFO and other agencies to advance many research and monitoring projects over the years. She also helped facilitate stewardship and outreach programs that improved habitats in the Sydenham River watershed (more than $1.2M in federal funding).

Muriel’s passion for nature has been inspiring and contagious to many young people in the conservation field, working under her supervision. She has led countless hikes, sharing her vast knowledge of wildflowers, trees and plants. She has trained education staff; spoken on Conservation Authority bus tours and given municipal council presentations on challenging topics such as species at risk.

Through outreach and education she has raised local awareness of natural treasures and the actions required for their protection. Her successful career in preserving natural heritage shows that with determination, future generations will be able to explore good quality habitat in Lambton and Middlesex Counties.

Nominating Agency: Environmental Services, Regional Municipality of York

Ian Buchanan

Ian Buchanan developed an early connection with nature while spending his youth exploring the highlands of Scotland. He has worked to protect and restore the natural environment since the early 1980’s. After graduating from the University of Guelph in Fish and Wildlife, he worked with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) developing partnerships and restoring species and their habitats, including reintroduction of Atlantic salmon, peregrine falcon and wild turkey. He provided science and environmental leadership to priority initiatives such as the Toronto Remedial Action Plan, Lake Simcoe Environmental Management Strategy, and authored the Lake Simcoe Muskellunge Reintroduction Feasibility Study.

Environmental education and connecting people with nature were always a priority. Ian championed the first Urban Fisheries Festivals in the early 1990’s, delivered classroom and field programs, and implemented many tree planting and habitat restoration projects. For over 18 years he worked for the OMNR in the Greater Toronto Area as ecologist, supervisor and Fish and Wildlife lead, to advance natural heritage systems protection in pressured landscapes.

Since 2002, Ian has worked as Manager Natural Heritage and Forestry with the Regional Municipality of York. He leads environmental initiatives including; the Greening Strategy, management of the York Regional Forest, and delivery of Urban Forest programs including invasive species. He is recognized as an environmental expert by Regional Council and his peers, and helps to develop legislation, policy and guidelines that protect and restore natural areas. He has nurtured partnerships with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, land trusts and Conservation Authorities which have protected thousands of acres of land.

Ian takes pride in managing the York Regional Forest, which is Canada’s first publicly owned Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forest. He also spearheaded the construction of accessible trails and the Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre. The all wood building targets LEED platinum and will be one of Ontario’s first Living Building Challenge certified buildings.

One of Ian’s most significant accomplishments was protecting Rouge Park, and contributing to Parks Canada’s advancement of Canada’s first national urban park, the Rouge National Urban Park. He was asked to provide direction on legislation to create the park, and spoke at both the House of Commons Environment committee and at the Senate on the importance of nature in and around urban areas. He is a strong advocate of the urban forest, and was appointed first chair of the Urban Forest Subcommittee of the Regional Public Works Commissioners of Ontario.

Ian is an Associate of the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, was vice President and Director with the Ontario Forestry Association, and is a Director on the boards of both the Invasive Species Centre and Forests Ontario. Ian loves his work and has spent his career protecting the environment, and encouraging and inspiring youth and others to take action. His environmental leadership, passion and enthusiasm has driven change and made a difference.

Nominating Agency: Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Tom Prout

Tom Prout, P.Ag., MPA served for more than three decades as General Manager (1981) and Secretary-Treasurer of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority. In his lifelong relationship with the conservation authority, Tom has done everything from camp, to cutting grass, to serving as General Manager. He has also helped to grow what may be Ontario’s longest-running outdoor conservation education program with an overnight component. As an advisor to the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation, ABCF, Tom encouraged a Junior Conservationist position that gave young people a chance to work in the conservation field and gain experience, steering them to consider a career in a conservation-related field. He also served for eight years on the Latornell Symposium Committee during its early years.

At a time when other Conservation Authorities struggled with the farming community, the relationship at ABCA flourished. This is evident in the Lake Huron Southeast Shores Initiative, where five priority watersheds have been identified where landowner involvement in environmental stewardship is high and on the ground projects planned. Three of those watersheds fall entirely or partially within the ABCA catchment area. This is no accident, but a result of years of working with the community by Tom Prout and his staff. His leadership helped ABCF to facilitate the creation of the Huron Tract Land Conservancy, in which local people donate land to the new land trust in order to protect and preserve their natural areas permanently.

When he joined the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority in 1979, Tom was able to obtain funding to implement a series of agricultural best management practices. He established a new standard for design, construction and maintenance of municipal drains that is widely applied today, yielding environmental and economic benefits to landowners, while still getting the job done for agriculture.

Tom helped build an organizational focus on ‘Healthy Watersheds’, environmental monitoring and stewardship, as well as protecting life and property through robust flood prevention, warning and planning regulations programs. He has represented Canada on the Board of the Soil and Water Conservation Society; his expertise and knowledge, particularly on the topic of engaging farmers in the implementation of projects that promote watershed health, while benefiting their bottom line and contribution to the health of the agriculture sector is highly valued. He has also challenged thinking about how best to achieve results, for instance in his thought-provoking columns in the newsletter, Conservogram, of the Soil and Water Conservation Society: “Will more of the same produce different results?” (April 2013); The Social Component of Conservation: An Ontario Perspective” (July 2014); and “Response to Fulfilling Ontario Agriculture’s Social Contract Future Farming Practices” (May 2015).

Tom Prout’s ability to inspire young conservation professionals, his very unique and valuable style of quiet leadership, and his roots in agriculture helped him forge a meaningful career, leading both those whose livelihoods are derived from the land and those who perceive Nature as an end in itself to develop better understanding of how various factors impact on the total environmental landscape.

Nominating Agency: Nickel District Conservation Authority

Bob Rogers

“Water is life; healthy water is essential to a sustainable future. Protecting Greater Sudbury’s watersheds is vital to the economy, environment and health of our community.”

These words demonstrate Bob Rogers’ great love of nature and his city. He has been very active in his community; after retiring from Laurentian University as an associate professor, where he coordinated the Outdoor Adventure Leadership Program, he has become one of the Sudbury champions in environmental and conservation issues. As a strong proponent of healthy living, he has been involved in many initiatives including Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition and Chair of the Healthy Community Cabinet locally, leading to the designation of the City of Greater Sudbury as a Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development through the United Nations University.

His role in environmental conservation became pivotal when he became the Chair of the Nickel District Conservation Authority. In this role, he has been a strong advocate for change in the community in order to protect the ecosystem. He was also a member of Conservation Ontario Environmental Education Task Group.

Bob Rogers always had a long term vision of Greater Sudbury as a green and environmentally friendly city. Locally, he was co-chair of the Sudbury Roundtable on Health Economy and Environment, co-chair of the Greenway Park Master Plan, chair of the Ramsey Lake Advisory Panel, and a member of the Education Task Force and Environment Task Force and Sudbury, The Next Ten Years, a community development process. Through his role at the NDCA, he was involved with other committees, including the Connect the Creek Partnership; whose primary purpose is to complete the Junction Creek Waterway Park over four years. Under his leadership, Conservation Sudbury increased awareness of Lake Laurentian Conservation Area and the promotion of water conservation events in Sudbury. He played a leading role in establishing the Friends of Lake Laurentian. Bob was also instrumental in creating the Greater Sudbury Climate Change Consortium; he was the Co-Chair of the consortium until 2012.

In 1998, Bob was Canada’s Assistant Chef de Mission at the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano Japan. This year he was selected as the Community Torch Bearer for the Greater Sudbury celebration of the Pan Am Toronto 2015 Torch Relay when it came through Sudbury.

Bob Rogers’ commitment to the protection of the environment is strong; through his numerous hours of volunteerism, he is a fervent contributor to the conservation of the ecosystem in the region. As the recipient of the Healthy Community Recognition Award, there is no doubt that he possesses a true passion for promoting and building a healthier and safer environment for all people.


2014 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Muskoka Watershed Council

Judi BrouseJudi Brouse started her career in conservation as the Resource Planner for the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority and wrote their first watershed plan (1983-1984). In 1984, she became District Planner at the District Municipality of Muskoka (DMM), then Director for Long-range Planning and, since 2003, Director of Watershed Programs. She has overseen the evolution of the DMM water quality program from 1984 into today’s Lake System Health Program. Throughout her career, Judi has gone well beyond expectations in committing time, energy and talent to achieve objectives.

One of Judi’s most significant accomplishments is the instrumental role that she has played in the establishment of and on-going work associated with the Muskoka Watershed Council (MWC), a unique, volunteer-based, public and private sector partnership with the mandate to champion watershed health. In a region lacking a Conservation Authority, Judi has enabled MWC to develop and implement science-based programs to protect watershed health, advocate for environmentally sound planning and management practices and policies to sustain the health of Muskoka’s watersheds, and educate the public and municipal councils to promote awareness of the impact of human actions on the environment.

For thirty years, Judi has been an effective role model for environmental stewardship, promoting water quality and watershed health throughout Muskoka. She built a working watershed model for use with school groups, developed lake data sheets making monitoring data accessible to the public, established the shoreline survey program that later evolved into the Love Your Lake program, and developed the benthic-monitoring program to further engage lake residents in lake monitoring. She regularly gives talks to lake associations, service clubs, and school groups.

Judi loves her job, Muskoka and the environment. She is an outstanding role model who demonstrates that it is possible to find jobs that one is passionate about, all the while making a positive difference in the world.

Nominating Agency: Save the Oak Ridges Moraine (STORM)

Debbe CrandallFor 25 years, Debbe Crandall has dedicated herself to the Save the Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition (STORM) as a volunteer, board member, Executive Director, and most recently as policy analyst. As champion of Oak Ridges Moraine (ORM) protection, she provided leadership and support to numerous groups across the moraine landscape through a vibrant coalition model that initially succeeded in influencing decision-makers to protect the moraine through stand-alone legislation (the ORM Conservation Act in 2001 and the ORM Conservation Plan in 2002). In the lead-up to moraine protection, she represented STORM on the ORM Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) as Chair (part of the ORM Technical Working Committee [TWC] from 1991-1994) and was appointed to the Oak Ridges Moraine Advisory Panel in 2001, which developed the framework for the ORM Conservation Act and Plan. Subsequently, she transformed the coalition into a “planning organization” that maintained focus on the moraine through monitoring activities, capacity building and applied research such as the Loose Threads Workshop in 2004, the Monitoring the Moraine Project in 2005, the York Region Strategic Environmental Assessment Research Project in 2007 as well as numerous conferences and symposia.

Government agencies have called on Debbe’s services numerous times. For example, she was appointed to the Central Ontario Smart Growth Panel and Land Exchange Review Panel in 2003. Debbe was also appointed to the Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation’s Board of Directors as a Director in 2004, Treasurer in 2005 and the Chair from 2008 to 2010. In 2006 Debbe was appointed to the Greenbelt Council to provide advice to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on Greenbelt matters. She continues to play a vital role in preparation for the review of the Greenbelt Plan (including the ORM Conservation Plan) scheduled for 2015.

Debbe’s enthusiasm for the moraine’s diverse landscape inspires both young and old. Her passion for the issues means that co-workers and volunteers become her life-long colleagues. Former employees who started their careers with Debbe in STORM currently hold management positions in the Ontario Public Sector and NGO sector in Ontario, planning positions with Conservation Authorities as well as academic positions. Indeed, Debbe has had a positive impact not only on the environment, but on the people that she has encountered as well.

Nominating Agency: Grand River Conservation Authority

Lorrie MinshallThe connecting thread of Lorrie’s long and busy career has been her commitment to integrated watershed management as the key to a better environment and healthier communities. As the first female engineer to graduate from the University of Guelph, Lorrie was an inspiration at a young age.

As a young engineer, she wrote papers for the 1982 Grand River Basin Water Management Study, which examined both water quality and quantity in addition to flooding issues. As a senior water resources engineer, Lorrie had an intimate understanding of how the Grand watershed works as well as extensive knowledge of the best ways to manage floods in order to minimize the impact on people and their communities.

Furthermore, Lorrie was the project manager for the “Grand Strategy for Managing the Grand River as a Canadian Heritage River” project, which was developed in a collaborative, watershed-wide process to support the 1994 Heritage River designation.

In the early 2000s, Lorrie saw the need to return to the 1982 Grand River Basin Study and in 2009, she began work on a project to revisit the study, update it, and provide a new guide to water management for the 21st century in three areas: water supply, water quality and flooding. She envisioned the new plan as a collaborative effort involving all levels of government as well as First Nations with a stake in water issues.

In 2010, partners signed on: municipalities, provincial ministries, Environment Canada and the Six Nations of the Grand River. After five years of work, the plan is now going through an endorsement process by all of the partners in anticipation of a formal launch in early 2015.

The new Water Management Plan is a direct outcome of Lorrie’s commitment to watershed planning and an expression of her will to leave a legacy for the GRCA, its partners and the people of the watershed.


2013 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Mike Garrett

Mike Garrett has a history of leadership in complex multistakeholder environments with competing priorities and issues. He has the distinction of having been the chief administrative officer for the Region of York, City of Toronto and Region of Peel, for a total of 17 years, during which time he led the amalgamation of the seven former municipalities into the City of Toronto. As CAO his responsibilities have included managing the delivery of water, wastewater, solid waste, welfare and public health services.

Prior to his municipal career, Mike served in the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in senior roles, including assistant deputy minister and director of the Conservation Authorities and Water Management Branch. As the general manager of South Nation River Basin—a federal/provincial economic and regional development secondment—he resolved ratepayer disputes and produced an economic development plan for the agricultural community.

In 2008, in a volunteer effort with CESO, Mike was selected to provide advice to the people of Sampaloc, Philippines on managing and improving their water supply system. Never one to shy away from gargantuan undertakings, he used his knowledge in municipal water services to make recommendations to address leaking pipes, develop closed water systems that limit harmful bacteria and implement a water metering system that enables the town to assess the level of water usage. Four years after he created a report outlining technical recommendations and financial requirements for improvements, Sampaloc accumulated the necessary funds to develop a water treatment facility and improve its water system. Thanks to Mike’s leading role, the town now has access 24/7 to water that is potable, high pressure and tested regularly. Mike’s efforts to complete this project have positively affected the lives and wellbeing of over 13,000 people.

Mike is a man of the people; he has aligned himself with projects that have reached and benefitted millions of people to date. All of these projects have had the same elements in common: they supported the interest and wellbeing of communities and their respective citizens with a clear focus on public safety, environmental quality, and access to green space balanced with economic success. Feats like his can only be accomplished through true passion and caring for the people and a strong sense of social responsibility.

Nominating Agency: Grey Sauble Conservation

Peter Middleton

For over 50 years, lifelong naturalist Peter Middleton has been an outdoor education teacher, principal and guide. In those leadership roles, his knowledge of the natural world, coupled with his keen interest in education, has brought a greater understanding of the wonders of natural resources to many, young and old.

For 25 of those years, Peter worked at the Bruce County Education Centre. His passions, innovation, and pure excitement for outdoor/environmental education were so contagious, he left positive effects on students, classroom teachers, and outdoor staff both locally and provincially. Many of those he touched continued to pursue environmentally related careers and goals throughout their lives.

As a nature guide, he is known as a fine interpreter of the natural environment, both at home and abroad, possessing an inclination and ability to communicate the significance of natural phenomena by building a context and framework of understanding for others. He has guided groups to many areas of the globe to observe birds, animals and plants, and interpret natural environments.

Adding to his list of impressive titles, Peter is also a respected field ornithologist who, over the years, has contributed to many projects, including the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, North America Breeding Bird Surveys, Grey-Bruce Records Committee and Endangered Species Recovery Programs. He was one of the leaders and mentors for a project to protect the nesting areas at Sauble Beach for the Piping Plover, an endangered species. In addition to being a member of the writing team for the Piping Plover Recovery Strategy in Ontario, he was instrumental in developing protocols, procedures and guides for volunteers as they spent countless hours protecting this species, leading to the successful fledging of several chicks. While on site, he was enthusiastic to take the time to educate any curious passersby, instilling in them the importance of preserving the birds’ natural habitat in the ecosystem.

Peter has been a member and leader of many environmental groups including Owen Sound Field Naturalists (now past president), and is a present board member of Ontario Nature. His passion for environmental protection is an inspiration and his dedication to education has guided thousands of children and adults alike to explore, appreciate and respect nature.

Nominating Agency: CABAL (Conservation Authorities Branch Alumni) and the Association of Retired Conservation Authority Staff

Russ Powell

Russ Powell, whose distinguished career has spanned more than five decades, has been an influential and critical figure in natural resources management in Ontario. He has spent the majority of his career serving the people of Ontario through the Conservation Authorities program at both the field and provincial levels. He has kick started CA programs and set them on solid political and financial footings, all while recruiting and mentoring Resources Managers. He began an era of progressive watershed management, pushing traditional boundaries aside to do what was required as opposed to what was “mandated”—as a result, he established the basis for the contemporary conservation programs in the southwestern region of Ontario.

Under Russ’ guidance, the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (for which he has been Chief Administrative Officer since 1995) played a leading role in putting Ontario Regulation 42-06 into place for conservation authorities across the province. As CAO, he streamlined CLOCA’s plan review process (to the envy of other conservation authorities), allowing staff to respond to development approvals in a timely and cost-effective manner.

In 1998, Russ initiated an aggressive land acquisition project across the jurisdiction, bringing together multi-level governments, foundations and non-profit organizations to leverage the financial resources for their purchase. To date he has orchestrated the purchase of 1361.14 hectares (3,363.45 acres) of environmentally sensitive lands to place in long-term public ownership and grow with the community they support. One of his most significant undertakings has been the Enniskillen Valley Land Acquisition Project, initiated in 2004 to protect over 592.26 hectares (1,463.48 acres) of Environmentally Sensitive Area.

Russ, one of the individuals personally recruited by Art Latornell, has helped to perpetuate Art’s legacy by mentoring young conservationists, through programs such as the Junior Conservationist Program, and challenging them to be bold, entrepreneurial and independent, but with a strong sense of public service. His influence has been province wide, and his legacy will endure, both in terms of the wealth of natural heritage lands he secured and the wealth of the people— conservationists, citizens, politicians—that he has mentored and influenced.

Nominating Agency: Muskoka Conservancy

Bill DickinsonBill has spent over 30 years as an educator, teaching at Bracebridge High School where he became head of the science department. It was there that his lifetime commitment to leadership began. He notably created the Outers’ Club at Bracebridge High School to offer the opportunity to youth to experience and become inspired by their local environment; initiated and coordinated an Envirothon program for local high school students; and helps coordinate and promote the Charlie Esson bursary for Muskoka/Parry Sound District High School students destined for environmental-focused post-secondary education. This is just a minute list of leadership roles that Bill has taken on over the years in order to engender a positive relationship between youth and the environment, instilling in the next generation of conservationists a sense of appreciation and accountability.

Throughout his career, Bill has done tremendous work, serving as director and member for a myriad of organizations: Muskoka Heritage Foundation and Trust, Muskoka Watershed Council, Parry Sound Muskoka Stewardship Network, Algonquin Forest Authority and Muskoka Conservancy. For the latter, Bill has championed several land acquisitions. Of particular significance, the Upjohn Nature Reserve was acquired in 2011 as spearheaded by Bill, comprising over 100 acres of mixed upland forest with two wonderfully diverse ponds.

His work through Muskoka Conservancy does not end there; he created and leads a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) consisting of volunteer experts in various environmental fields, such as biology, hydrology and geology, to provide advice on land protection and preservation. The TAG’s major accomplishments include collecting baseline information, such as location data, stewardship requirements and species inventory for all 32 of the Conservancy’s protected properties; completing annual monitoring visits of the properties and making recommendations for the lands’ ongoing protection; and the planning and implementing of restoration projects on 7 privately-own publically accessible sites.

Bill has the profound ability to connect with others and engage them in enjoying and protecting the environment, ensuring that good environmental causes continue. His efforts stand out from others in his extreme commitment and success in creating a positive network of people who permanently protect over 1,800 acres of Muskoka’s legendary landscape.

Nominating Agency: North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority

Jean-Marc FilionAward-winning environmentalist, educator, researcher and eco-activist Jean-Marc Filion has been a prolific and staunch advocate for the health and sustainability of aquatic ecosystems in the North Bay area watersheds, influencing environmental groups and decision makers.

As a secondary school science teacher since 1974 (now retired), Jean-Marc has inspired many youth in environmental science, and under his guidance, lead them to win national and international awards for their projects and research. He has also taught at the university level in the fields of biology, physics, mathematics, and computer science and was granted an honorary doctorate degree, Faculty of Education at Nipissing University. And if that wasn’t enough, he also authored subject content for a number of courses to be taught at Collège Boréal. He has dedicated a lifetime to supporting motivated, enthused and educated young scientists.

The quality that really distinguishes Jean-Marc as a leader and educator is his ability to translate scientific findings to common language that help raise public awareness of the issues affecting the North Bay area watersheds—and he does this in both official languages. He often acts as a French media liaison for the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario on the release of various reports. As his secondary students went on to achieve 32 medals in 10 consecutive years at national and international competitions, he was part of the organizing committee and in charge of delivering French liaison and translation services for both students and judges. His initiative and involvement truly values the students’ hard work and research, as well as encourages the importance of environmental education. Among many others, one of his most notable initiatives is his work on the Invasive Spiny Water Flea, a species that significantly depletes the fish population in Lake Nipissing by eating its food supply. Jean-Marc tracked the invasive spiny water flea in the Lake Nipissing ecosystem, reported on its impact, and raised public awareness about the importance of minimizing the transport of invasive species between watersheds.

Jean-Marc has always been and remains a positive force behind public involvement and education. His input on environmental issues reflects thoughtful investigation and concern for the overall health of the aquatic ecosystems, while recognizing the economic and social impacts as well.

Jean-Marc has served as President of Lake Nipissing Partners in Conservation, Secretary of North Bay Hunters and Anglers, and Vice-President/Newspaper Editor/Fisheries Chair of the Trout Lake Conservation Association.


2012 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Credit Valley Conservation

Peter Orphanos

Peter Orphanos has been a community leader for over three decades. He was an elementary school educator for 35 years and was recognized as Environmental Educator of the Year by the City of Mississauga. He was instrumental in inspiring many young people to conserve and protect the natural environment.

Peter retired from teaching in 2003 and since that time, has dedicated himself to protecting the environment. He has provided leadership during the last 35 years for the preservation, restoration and enhancement of the Credit River Valley Watershed.

Peter founded several successful resident associations and environmental groups, including Sierra Club Peel. He has received awards for outstanding achievement from various environmental groups including: Ontario Nature, City of Mississauga, Clean City Mississauga, Parks Mississauga, Peel Aquarium Club and Credit Valley Conservation (“CVC”). The Award of Distinction was presented to him by Credit Valley Conservation at the Stewardship Forum and Volunteer Award Event in 2010.

Peter’s passion is protecting and enhancing natural heritage systems, especially in the Credit Valley Watershed. He has used municipal, provincial, Ontario Municipal Board(OMB) and Environmental Assessment forums effectively to achieve his goals. On behalf of Sierra Club, he worked in a partnership with Environmental Defence/ Greenbelt Alliance staff to grow the Greenbelt in Peel. Recently, he was appointed to Mississauga’s Environmental Advisory Committee. His latest initiative was the formation of ROAR (Restoring Our Ailing Rivers), a committee that seeks to afford stronger and permanent legislative protection of all river valleys in Ontario.

Peter’s responsibilities have included serving on numerous environmental boards and councils. Positive relationships with everyone, including public representatives are the key to Peter’s success. In addition, he values tenacity, consistency, credibility and being well-informed as keys in achieving goals. As chair and member of many environmental and ratepayer groups he has experienced a high degree of success in protecting the Credit River from inappropriate development. He has worked cooperatively with Credit Valley Conservation, the Region of Peel and municipal leaders to effect policy change for stronger protection.

As Chair of the Peel Chapter of the Sierra Club, he successfully led the campaign to protect the Greenbelt in Northwest Brampton and many sensitive areas in the Credit River Valley throughout Peel and Halton. As a founding member of Riverwood, he worked for 20 years to make the 150-acre park in Mississauga a reality. He got a Greenlands designation for the Credit River in Mississauga, contributed significantly to ensure Northwest Brampton 6000 acre block development occurs in an environmentally responsible manner and was a member of the Northwest Brampton Planning Steering Committee. Peter proposed and received approval to develop a Natural Heritage System Strategy for Mississauga through the EACC committee. He has generally championed environmental protection in the CVC watershed and especially Mississauga for more than 30 years.

Nominating Agency: Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

John Sibbald

Mr. John Sibbald, President and Chief Executive Officer of the historic lakeside resort, The Briars, located in Georgina, Ontario has long been interested and involved in the conservation and preservation of the lake and land as well as historic buildings and landmarks. The Briars, a family-run business, is located on the shore of Lake Simcoe and has long been viewed as a stellar example of conservation of the local environment and the lake. Since his early years as a university student John has embraced the need for conservation, protection and preservation of the natural as well as the built environment. John’s lifelong pursuit of environmentally friendly business initiatives includes:

  • Caring for and managing the mature forests of pine, spruce and maple trees.
  • Saving and preserving heritage buildings by finding new uses for them.
  • The first major Ontario resort to ban indoor smoking.
  • Implementing more environmentally friendly business practices (such as eliminating disposable cups, installing high-efficiency shower heads, energy efficient lights and encouraging guests to reuse towels and linens.)
  • Forming a “Green Team” to generate environmentally friendly operational ideas.

Throughout the last three decades John has contributed to the local, provincial and national conservation movement. As Vice-Chair of the Ontario Parks Board, John was instrumental in leading policy development governing the protection and conservation of natural spaces. Shortly after his service on Ontario Parks Council John became the Governor of the Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain (“CCAR”) through which John and his colleagues lobbied both the Canadian and US Governments to pass legislation to restrict acid rain causing emissions. This ultimately helped lead to the passing of the US Clean Air Act in 1990. Through his environmental work at all levels, John was instrumental in bringing the provincial and federal governments together, resulting in the Ontario Government’s 1985 LSEMS Report. John’s environmental work has been recognized through numerous awards including the 1984 Ontario Bicentennial medal and the 2010 Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement. John is a founding member of the Lake Simcoe Tourist Association, York Tourist Board and Lake Simcoe Arts Foundation. After a lifetime of passion and energy poured into the pursuit of environmental business practices and local habitat enhancement as well as national, and international leadership in environmental advocacy and policy development, the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation appointed John as an honourary lifetime member of its Board of Directors.

John Sibbald’s lifelong passion for the environment has inspired all three of his sons and their families to continue their father’s legacy. Through their business, John and his family have also dedicated a great deal of time to training and encouraging their many young staff to consider the impact of their actions on the lake and the surrounding environment.

Through his work in supporting conservation and environmental initiatives at all levels, as a business leader and a well respected member of the community John Sibbald exemplifies the meaning of Conservation pioneer.

Nominating Agency: AFS (Ontario Chapter), Trout Unlimited Canada, and TRCA

Jack Imhof

Since the late 1970’s, the name Jack (Jacob) Imhof has been synonymous with freshwater ecosystems. Jack changed the way we think about rivers in this province and no doubt across Canada. He taught us to think about the relationships between land and water and what that meant for our aquatic species. He shifted the practice from straightening and hardening channels to naturalizing channels. He translated science into everyday language for laymen, the angling community and scientists alike. And throughout his career, Jack has acted with integrity and a spirit of co-operation. In his 25 years with the Ministry of Natural Resources (“MNR”) Jack provided expertise to field staff on rehabilitation techniques and science for the rehabilitation of aquatic ecosystems. He worked to develop policies, guidelines and standards for the provincial Aquatic Habitat Rehabilitation program and was an advocate for the Integrated Watershed Management Planning process. Jack spearheaded the natural channels initiative on behalf of the MNR which developed the science, definitions, procedures and policies for the protection and restoration of stream systems.

Jack also developed a community based resource management approach for rivers and lakes, known as Exceptional Waters. Through his work with MNR and as National Biologist with Trout Unlimited Canada (“TUC”) Jack delivered Science, policy and programs for TUC’s National Conservation Agenda while developing and implementing Watershed Based Fisheries Management Planning Guidelines. When he retired from MNR in 2010 he continued his work with TUC on managing and delivering their National Conservation Agenda.

Jack was also an Adjunct Professor with the University of Waterloo in the Biology departments between 2003 and 2009 and remains an Adjunct Professor with the University of Guelph in the Department of Integrative Biology and Faculty of Environmental Management and Design, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development. Here he teaches and inspires the next generation of aquatic ecologists and fluvial specialists.

He has been involved with the American Fisheries Society as Vice President of the Canadian Aquatic Resources Section (1997-98) and later as President and Past President of the Ontario Chapter (2007-2009) which included being part of the organizing committee for the 2008 AFS Annual Meeting held in Ottawa.

And if that is not enough, Jack has published 22 scientific papers and 22 reports, given 55 formal presentations and lectures, as well as having received 9 recognition awards. In his spare time, Jack has been fly fishing and fly tying for over 40 years, has given freely of his time to speak on fly fishing and tying and has prepared popular articles for outdoor publications. There is no one more passionate about their chosen field than Jack, and no one more deserving of recognition he has made to the field of Aquatic Ecology over the last 30 plus years.

Nominating Agency: Pembroke District Ministry of Natural Resources

Scott Gillingwater

Scott Gillingwater is a Species at Risk Biologist/Herpetologist, working primarily with at risk reptiles. His work includes some of the longest-term research in Canada on the Spiny Softshell, Blanding’s and Spotted Turtles, Queensnake and a number of other declining reptile species. Scott is likely most well known for his tireless efforts to recovery the Spiny Softshell Turtle in southwestern Ontario, and for projects like the Longpoint Causeway Improvement Project. Scott is actively involved in reptile conservation on a number of fronts, including providing technical expertise to provincial and national recovery teams, the COSEWIC Amphibian and Reptile Specialist Sub-committee, the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist group and the board of directors of the Institute for the Conservation of World Biodiversity. In addition to his editorial duties for a number of recently published stewardship guides, Scott is currently completing a field guide to the reptiles and amphibians of Ontario, as well as drafting manuscripts for publication covering his 18 years of field research in Canada.

He is an executive member of the Ontario Multispecies Turtles At Risk Recovery Team, as well as a member of various other ecosystem and reptile species recovery teams/groups. Each spring and summer, Scott and his research team locate and collect eggs from Spiny Softshell nests along the Thames River. Scott and his team incubate, hatch and release close to 2000 Spiny Softshell hatchlings each summer. Research and recovery efforts also target the protection of habitat, working with communities, including landowners, to ensure long-term protection and stewardship.

Scott has published a Spiny Softshell stewardship guide, along with countless factsheets, newspaper articles, and has completed many presentations and interviews. His educational efforts have reached many thousands of people, and the success can be measured in the increased interest and participation in habitat restoration, water quality improvement and species protection.

Scott includes children in hands on turtle work, including hatchling releases where and when this is appropriate. His presentations to school and community groups in southwestern Ontario reach thousands of students each year (over 15000 students since 2002). He has worked with teachers to develop reptile education components of the school curriculum, sharing species information and principles of ecological conservation.

He has also worked to develop “kid friendly” educational material, including posters and stickers, to engage children in reptile awareness and conservation, and provides volunteer opportunities to individuals and groups. Scott has also served as a mentor, trainer and supervisor for a large number of staff, volunteers, and MSc and Phd students, who now serve as biologists and wildlife technicians across Canada and internationally. His passion, drive and dedication to species protection have inspired those that have met him to follow a similar path.


2011 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Ducks Unlimited Canada

Jim Anderson

Jim Anderson has worked on the frontlines of conservation in Ontario since the late 1960’s. He has held a number of leadership roles in government as well as the not-for-profit sector throughout his career. After spending some time with the former Napanee Region Conservation Authority, he worked for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) where he served in the Conservation Authorities Branch. During his time there, Jim became very involved in the development of Ontario’s floodplain and watershed management policies and programs, and the development of administrative guidelines for Conservation Authorities, which are still in effect today. While with OMNR, he led the Gypsy Moth Control Program – which, at the time, was the largest aviation project in Ontario since World War II. In addition, this spray program was the first to use biological control (BT) as opposed to chemical pesticides and serves as a positive example of safe and effective environmental control of invasive species in Ontario.

In 1995, Jim became the General Manager of Conservation Ontario where he successfully led Ontario’s Conservation Authorities through major challenges. During this period, Jim’s legacy remains that not one Conservation Authority disappeared from the Ontario landscape despite the significant funding reductions implemented by the Province in the 1990’s. Jim helped move Conservation Authorities from simply acting as implementers of provincial flood plain policy to a much broader scope within a municipal conservation partnership supporting the overall health of their watersheds and communities. During his tenure at Conservation Ontario, Jim was well known for his talent of building and maintaining relationships such as the one with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which enabled the Conservation Authorities to deliver certain aspects of the Federal Fisheries Act at the local level.

Jim retired from Conservation Ontario in 2000 and immediately went to work with Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). Jim was an architect of DUC’s national government relations and policy influence strategy. He encouraged the organization to work closely with municipal governments to influence wetland protection while advocating for science-based influence as evidenced in the “Beyond the Pipe” report (DUC’s presentation to the Walkerton Inquiry). Subsequently, Jim was DUC’s representative on various committees addressing the need for Source Water Protection Planning in Ontario. Today, Jim continues to work on Great Lakes Initiatives and as a consultant to the DUC policy program. Jim has been an invaluable participant on a variety of boards and commissions including the Advisory Committee to the Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes Charter Annex Advisory Panel.

Jim’s work and volunteer efforts make him a great inspiration to young people and he has acted as a mentor to many of Ontario’s conservation leaders. Jim was a Founding Chairman of University of Guelph’s A.D. Latornell Endowment Fund which, among many other activities, also supports the A.D. Latornell Conservation Symposium and its focus on bringing students together with conservation practitioners. Jim’s impact, his reach as a mentor and a leader in the conservation world, is an enviable legacy.

Nominating Agency: Nickel District Conservation Authority

Liette Vasseur

Dr. Liette Vasseur has enjoyed a very distinguished academic career spanning diverse, yet integrated, environmental issues. She is currently a Full Professor of Biological Sciences at Brock University where she has also held the position of Vice-President, Research. Previous to her tenure at Brock, Liette was Associate Vice-President, Research at Laurentian University, and the K.C. Irving Research Chair in Sustainable Development at the University of Moncton.

Throughout her career, Dr. Vasseur has been a firm believer and promoter of an inter-disciplinary approach to research at the ecosystem level. This approach has been exemplified in Liette’s own emphasis on community-based ecosystem management, decision-making and sustainable development. Her research and project work has included extensive involvement with academia, government organizations, NGO’s, industry, community conservation groups and aboriginal communities across Canada. While at Laurentian University, Liette was a Board Member at the Nickel District Conservation Authority as well as a serving member of the Sudbury Mayor’s Expert Panel on Environmental Health. She is currently an expert advisor to the Greater Sudbury Climate Change Consortium. In Niagara, she works with the Niagara Prosperity Initiative which aims to improve sustainability at the neighbourhood level and is also a lead member of the Niagara Region Climate Change Adaption Network.

At Brock University, Liette’s research program focuses on plant and conservation ecology, climate change, sustainable development, community-based management and gender issues in various countries such as Canada, China, and Burkina Faso (Africa). Among her many affiliations, Liette is a member of the Commission for Ecosystem Management of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and honorary member of the Nickel District Conservation Authority. She is also an Associate Editor of the journal Botany, and associate editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biosafety, which focuses on important issues concerning human-dominated and natural ecological systems.

Dr. Vasseur has had a significantly positive effect on youth. Through academia as well as her many community-based undertakings, Liette has acted as mentor for many young conservationists. To date, more than 75 of her former students have entered careers in the conservation/environmental fields. While at Laurentian University, she was a member of an initiative “Children First” Round Table designed to encourage youth to use a focus on the natural environment in order to become productive members of the community. Through her work, Dr. Vasseur continues to inspire the next generation of community-based science advocates.

Nominating Agency: Pembroke District – Ministry of Natural Resources

Paul Aird

During the first 22 years of Dr. Paul Aird’s career, he served as a scientist in the pulp and paper industry where he actively promoted nature conservation. As his years in that industry progressed, he felt compelled to more widely share his views on conservation issues with the public. The subsequent 35 years of his career with the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto fulfilled his desire to create and promote an environmental dialogue amongst Canadians, and then some. Paul’s scholarly and professional activities included research in policy analysis relating to forest conservation, forest policy and law, forest geography and history, conservation education, conservation history, as well as parks, wilderness and nature preservation.

One of Paul’s best known achievements is his long-term contributions to the study of endangered bird species – specifically, the Kirtland’s Warbler. He discovered the first Kirtland’s Warbler in Ontario in 1977 and co-discovered the breeding territory of Kirtland’s Warbler in 2006, which led to the first confirmed nesting record in Ontario and Canada in 2007. This discovery also led to the listing of this species under the Endangered Species Act of Ontario. Paul has been a member of the Canadian Recovery Team since its inception in 2005 and co-authored the 2006 Environment Canada Recovery Strategy for Kirtland’s Warbler. For over 24 years, Paul has represented Ontario and Canada as a member on the U.S. Kirtland’s Warbler Recovery Team. His decades of volunteer work towards conservation research, field work and studies related to Kirtland’s Warbler has resulted in significant contributions towards the recovery of this globally rare bird in Ontario, Canada and North America.

He has worked in other areas of conservation as well throughout his career. He has contributed to numerous environmental entities including: Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada, Sub-committee on Acid Rain, Standing Committee on Fisheries and Forestry, Ontario Royal Commission on the Northern Environment and also contributed significantly to the public debates that resulted in the establishment of Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights in 1993 and 1994. He has also served as a member of the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

Paul is committed to inspiring and mentoring young people. In addition to his accomplishments as a Professor, Paul’s gift for writing and storytelling has led him to co-author a book on ecofables for children as well as author other publications on ecological fables and nature tales. These stories serve as a way to educate, inspire and motivate youth to make a personal contribution towards conservation in their lives.

Nominating Agency: Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Tom Taylor

Tom Taylor has spent nearly 50 years in volunteering and providing public service to his community. His work in supporting conservation and environmental initiatives as both a volunteer as well as a municipal politician are well documented. In 2004, his environmental accomplishments were recognized by his being awarded the George R. Richardson Conservation Award from the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority for his lifetime commitment to improving the environmental health of the Lake Simcoe Watershed.

Tom has spent more than 32 years in the municipal political arena. In his capacity as Town Councillor with the Town of Newmarket and later as Regional Councillor with York Region, Tom continually emphasized the environmental aspects of various initiatives on the municipal agenda. His leadership during his nine year term as the Mayor of Newmarket helped to launch that community as one of the most environmentally progressive municipalities in the Country. The development and implementation of a comprehensive natural heritage strategy, a municipal Tree Preservation Policy and Anti-Idling By-law are examples of his advocacy and leadership.

Tom is a Founding Director of the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust and served on the Board of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority from 2003 until 2006. He is the Chair and founding member of the Holland River Improvement Committee where he was instrumental in the creation of Holland River Clean-up Day.

Through his position as Mayor of Newmarket, Tom worked tirelessly to help develop Canada’s first Platinum LEED eco-homes subdivision. In looking for private interests to develop the property the Town insisted that certain stringent environmental principles be followed – even though it meant that the Town would not be accepting the highest possible bid. The homes sold for a slight premium to comparable houses in the Town, however the energy savings more than compensated for the higher cost. This legacy has become a blueprint for other municipalities across Canada.

Tom Taylor has been an influential advocate for stewardship of our environment among our youth. As an Ambassador for Neighbourhood Network Aurora – Newmarket, a non-profit community–based organization, Tom has been instrumental in developing a student tree planting initiative. Planting a Future: Students for the Environmental Tree Planting Day began with 200 student volunteers and four planting sites in 2010 and this year had already grown to involve over 400 student volunteers and seven planting sites. The student planting initiative encourages youth in the community to get involved and help support their environment now and into the future.


2010 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Credit Valley Conservation

Vicki Barron

Vicki Barron has been a strong advocate for the environment throughout her 40-year career and volunteer life. Vicki has been (and continues to be) a leader in the conservation movement in Ontario. She is considered to be a “doer” by her peers and is always searching for solutions to environmental problems. She was initially employed by the (Metropolitan) Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and at the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA), but it was really at Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) that she made her mark. Vicki worked here from 1980 until her retirement in 2001. During her tenure she rose quickly through the ranks and was named General Manager and Secretary Treasurer of CVC in 1986.

Vicki encouraged the development of the Credit River Water Management Strategy which was one of the first approaches providing an ecosystem approach to watershed management. She then actively promoted the development of the “Blueprint for Success” document which furthered the concept of looking at water management on a watershed basis. During a two year secondment to the Waterfront Generation Trust, Vicki was able to parlay this knowledge into assisting that organization to move significantly forward with the Lake Ontario Greenway Strategy. Her continuing role with the Waterfront Regeneration Trust has enabled that organization to triple the number of communities who are partnering on the Waterfront Trail.

Vicki has received a number of awards for her work including the Ontario Branch Service Award from the Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA). She is also an Honourary Member of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects and she is currently the Director of Administration and Regeneration Initiatives at the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and a member of the Continuing Education faculty at Sheridan College.

Nominating Agency: Tim Horton Onondaga Farms

Gil Henderson

Gil Henderson is a man of many accomplishments. In addition to his significant contribution to protect Ontario’s natural environment, he is a veteran of the Second World War and a four-time Olympian in trapshooting. In 1958 Gil was second at the world trapshooting championships in Moscow and in 1960, he competed at the world championships in Rome. Gil even won the Grand American Trapshooting Tournament in 1957 beating out over 2,000 competitors including American movie cowboy, Roy Rogers. Although he competed at the pinnacle of his sport Gil’s life-long dedication to conservation is equally “Olympian”.

Gil’s conservation accomplishments extend over 40 years. In the 1960’s, Gil and his wife, Molly, amassed 900 acres of farmland in Brant County and entered into an association with Ducks Unlimited Canada to protect the many wetlands on their property. The property was often used by members of Ministry of Natural Resources and the Conservation Authorities as a good example for other landowners showing the benefits of such measures as fencing off wetlands to livestock and leaving vegetative buffers around the edges.

Among Gil’s most significant work was his involvement with Harry Lumsden in the recovery of Trumpeter Swans in Ontario. With Gil’s significant input the species was reintroduced in Ontario. When the project began in 1982 there were no wild Trumpeter Swans in Ontario. Just 14 years later the Trumpeter Swan was no longer considered to be “at risk”! Many pairs of Trumpeter Swans are currently nesting at the Brant County farm.

In 1999, Molly became terminally ill and it was at that time that the couple secured their legacy by donating 400 acres of farmland in St. George to the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. Tim Horton Onondaga Farms ensures that Gil and Molly’s efforts to educate about the environment and how to care for nature are still being met.

Nominating Agency: Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph

Stew Hilts

Over the course of a 40-year career, Dr. Stewart Hilt’s accomplishments and contributions to the conservation community have been numerous and significant both as a professional and a volunteer. As a professor at the University of Guelph’s Department of Land Resources Science, Stew’s commitment to experiential learning and teaching outdoors has provided his many students with their introduction to environmental stewardship and conservation.

Often cited as the”grandfather of stewardship” in Canada, Stew first became interested and involved in conservation issues as an active participant in a local woodlot preservation project as a high school student. He carried this penchant for the environment to the University of Guelph where is spearheaded the establishment of the university’s B.Sc. (Environmental Science) degree program.

Stew founded the A.D. Latornell Conservation Symposium (sponsored jointly by the University of Guelph’s Centre for Land and Water Stewardship and Conservation Ontario, representing the network of 36 Conservation Authorities). This Symposium has grown into the premier annual conservation conference in Canada.

Committed to mentoring young conservation professionals, Stew helped to found a new career development program called the Young Conservation Professionals (“YCP”). YCP is a comprehensive personal and professional development progam designed to encourage young leaders within the conservation sector in Ontario. Using residential retreats, interactive workshops, and guided, on-the-job practice, YCP has been central to the training of nearly 100 young conservation professionals since 2005.

Nominating Agency: Directors, advisors, staff and volunteers of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve

Don Ross

Don Ross has been involved in conservation issues from a variety of approaches and positions for over 40 years. The success of these many initiatives has produced tangible benefits for the conservation community in general and for Eastern Ontario in particular. From his beginnings as Chief Naturalist with Parks Canada, through his time as a sporting goods retailer where he promoted sustainable and passive recreation such as windsurfing and canoeing, Don was very respectful of our natural environment. He is also a master woodworker who has restored homes and watercraft using a conscientious low energy approach.

A biologist and former chief naturalist with the St. Lawrence National Park, Don is currently the Executive Director of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve (FABR). The Frontenac Arch is an 80-kilometre-wide bridge of the Canadian Shield that connects Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario with the Adirondack Mountains in New York State. Due to the wide variety of biodiversity found here, including many species at risk, the Arch was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2002. Don spearheaded the successful nomination of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve to UNESCO.

Outside of his work with the Arch, Don is also a very active volunteer. As a founding board member and negotiator/ landowner liaison for the Thousand Islands Watershed Land Trust, Don has protected a number of important sites for land and water conservation. On behalf of the Land Trust he has acted as lead negotiator on a number of very significant acquisitions. Don has also completed shoreline assessments on over 700 area properties making numerous recommendations for improved riparian management – most of which have already been implemented. Each of these projects promotes and creates an awareness of land and water conservation either as a recommendation or action/outcome.


2009 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Ernie Crossland

Ernie’s level of volunteerism is legendary. He is affectionately known as “Mr. Newmarket”, however he could just as well be known as “Mr. Lake Simcoe.”. His penchant for volunteering combined with a strong will to protect our natural heritage have made him a passionate champion of the Lake and surrounding watershed. Ernie’s conservationist ideals were formed at an early age. He grew up on a farm near Lake Simcoe and remembers how pristine the Lake was at that time. He has worked tirelessly for many years to ensure that Lake Simcoe can again return to the unspoiled condition that he experienced in his youth.

Ernie has been a member of the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation since 1985 and served as President from 2000 to 2004. This organization is a not-for-profit entity that raises private funds to protect and restore the Lake Simcoe Watershed. Ernie, an honourary lifetime member, still sits on the organizing committee for the annual Conservation Foundation Dinner, which raises approximately $150,000 each year for restoration efforts in the Lake Simcoe watershed.

Ernie was the founder and chairman of the Millennium Project Nokiidaa Trail which runs 35 kilometers along the East Holland River from Aurora to East Gwillimbury. This walking trail links to numerous other trails and to Lake Simcoe Region conservation areas.

Ernie’s influence has extended well beyond his conservationist pursuits. His support of Lake Simcoe as well as his involvement with such worthwhile pursuits as Habitat for Humanity and Lions Club have been recognized with numerous awards including the George R. Richardson Conservation Award of Honour and the Governor General Queens Jubilee Award.

In 2006 Ernie was recognized as Newmarket’s first Honourary Citizen. With this award the Jean and Ernie Crossland Environmental Scholarship was created. The Scholarship, a result of a gift from the Town of Newmarket and Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Foundation, is established to assist students pursuing a post-secondary degree/diploma in Environmental Studies. Ernie’s legacy remains secure.

Nominating Agency: Friends of the Kawartha Conservation

Ian Macnab

Ian has possessed a strong passion for the work of the conservation authorities and the importance of watershed management for his whole career. He is intimately aware of the challenges faced by the C.A’s and he has always been willing to champion their cause. His work in the conservation field has been coloured with extreme perseverance and vision.

Ian’s career in conservation began with the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (MTR CA) (precursor to Toronto Conservation) where he was hired as a Fisheries Biologist in 1973. He stayed with MTR CA for seven years until he was asked to head-up the newly founded Kawartha Region Conservation Authority (now Kawartha Conservation) in 1980. Ian became the C.A.s first General Manager/Secretary- Treasurer in 1986 and with a title change, the Chief Administrative Officer in 2001. He worked at Kawartha Region Conservation Authority for 28 years – retiring in 2008.

The changes and improvements that Ian oversaw at Kawartha Conservation during his tenure are a testament to his passion. When he started at the C.A. Ian worked from a folding card table in rented office space and made telephone calls from a public telephone. By 1992 Kawartha Conservation had its own modern administrative building at Ken Reid Conservation Area. When Kawartha Conservation was threatened with closure due to budget constraint Ian was at the forefront of the battle – actively displaying the need for watershed management in the Kawarthas and forming Friends of Kawartha Conservation in order to assist with conservation projects and funding.

Ian has a penchant for mentoring and this was a continuous theme throughout his career. Not only did he act as a role model for young professionals who reported to him at the conservation authorities, but he was instrumental in encouraging young people in pursuit of environmental careers at Sir Sanford Fleming College, School of Natural Resources in Lindsay. He was a founding member of the College’s advisory board for ecosystem management and has served on it as an advisory for the past 16 years. Ian is a strong supporter of the Young Conservation Professionals (YCP) Program and is a lecturer for its programs.

Nominating Agency: Toronto and Region Conservation

Craig Mather

Craig’s passion is the building of a cleaner and healthier community for everyone. He has helped advance this lofty goal through a career dedicated to the protection of our natural environment through the design of practical solutions to environmental issues.

Craig graduated from the University of Guelph in 1971 with a degree of Water Resources Engineering and joined the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (MTRCA) (precursor to Toronto and Region Conservation) shortly thereafter. He remained with this organization until his retirement in 2003, having served the last 13 years as Chief Administrative Officer.

Craig’s work at MTRCA initiated a comprehensive Policy for Erosion Control and Bank Stabilization in Toronto which was subsequently used as the blueprint for similar programs in neighbouring municipalities. Later, he carried out hydrology and hydraulic modeling that lead to one of the first Flood Damage Reduction Programs in Ontario. This work ultimately morphed into a storm water management plan that has since been adopted to a significant degree by the conservation authorities and provincial ministries.

Craig has always sought input from various stakeholder groups and has had a gift for generating community engagement with respect to conservation undertakings. This includes having the Humber River designated as a Canadian Heritage River in 1999 and inspiring the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to establish the Terrestrial Natural Heritage System Strategy. The latter of these measures was instrumental in allowing the TRCA to acquire 14,000 acres of land during Craig’s tenure.

Craig has been an inspiration not only for the many young conservationists at the TRCA but, as well as to legions of environmental volunteers through the formation of Environmental Volunteer Network. This organization promotes the opportunity for future environmentalists to gain valuable work experience in their field.

Nominating Agency: Ontario Ministry of the Environment

Ian Parrish

Ian has been described as compassionate, caring, sometimes irreverent, and a great story teller. He has also been described “as true an environmentalist as one could ever meet”. For Ian, the important thing was what was best for the environment. He had a singular talent for building bridges between environmental organizations and overcoming any barriers standing in his way. The result was the creation of a large network of environmental professionals across government and the private sector alike. As a consequence, his work has touched many.

After graduating from the University of Guelph, and working at a few different pursuits, Ian went to work at the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE ) where he spent the next 22 years. During that time he worked in a variety of roles promoting conservation. Ian was instrumental in helping to develop the Code of Practice for the Environmental Management of Road Salts as well as to champion the “social marketing” of Ontario’s Drive Clean Campaign. Ian also established improved processes to provide a more integrated approach to promote the understanding of potential threats to drinking water sources across all stakeholders (ministries, conservation authorities and municipalities). His most recent position was as coordinator for environmental integration for EMRB, liaising with management, supervisors, scientists and program staff to facilitate the public distribution of monitoring data.

Ian was widely regarded as a mentor to many young (and some not-so-young) colleagues at MOE . He was quick to recommend a dedicated young conservationist for an opportunity – even if that position was somewhere other than his own Ministry. To Ian, the important thing was what was best for that individual and for the environment – not what was best for political sensitivity and bureaucracy. Ian is remembered for promoting a corporate culture that strove for transparency and positive action. It is these attributes that many who considered him a mentor hope to mirror.

Ian would often refer to people who showed dedication toward the environment as “Good Citizens”. Ian Parrish truly exemplified the term “Good Citizen”.

Nominating Agency: Upper Thames River Conservation Authority

Allan Ralph

Allan’s contributions to the conservation field through his career as well as a community volunteer are indeed worthy of the recognition that he is receiving as an A.D. Latornell Conservation Symposium Pioneer. His tireless work with respect to the natural environment of The Coves Subwatershed in London, Ontario is well known and respected throughout Southern Ontario. His efforts over the years have resulted in significant restoration and rehabilitation of the site while continuously educating children and the public about these natural treasures.

Allan Ralph graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1972 and immediately began teaching with the London School Board. It was through out this 33 year career that Allan shared his love of nature with his students. This included numerous pond studies, species inventories, and storm water runoff impact reports carried out with his students at The Coves.

As a resident of The Coves Subwatershed, Allan became a strong advocate for the rehabilitation of the area and organized the annual Coves Cleanup – which has been carried out for many years. His high level of interest in the area led to the creation of the Friends of The Coves Subwatershed Inc. (FOT CSI) in 1990. This not-for-profit environmental organization works in conjunction with government and environmental organizations and citizens groups to restore and protect The Coves. The FOT CSI has had numerous successes including: the transfer of over 40ha of environmentally significant lands into public ownership; assisting hundreds of residents in the subwatershed naturalize their properties; and completing a plan for 700ha of The Coves’ lands. The Organization has received many prestigious awards for its work.

Allan is currently the Chair of the Advisory Board of the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation but still finds time for participation on the organizing committees of Children’s Water Festivals in the London-Oxford area. It is this mentoring that is reflective of Art Latornell’s own philosophy.


2008 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Nickel District Conservation Authority

Dr. John Gunn

John Gunn has had a distinguished career as a University Professor and Scientist who has spent over 25 years working at the forefront of freshwater and restoration ecology. Dr. Gunn has produced over 150 publications (including 53 journal papers) in the field of restoration ecology and has been a grant holder with Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada since 1992. In recognition of his expertise, John was recently appointed to the Premier’s Lake Simcoe Science Advisory Committee.

Dr. Gunn leads the Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit in Sudbury whose mandate is to collaborate with community groups and industry in order to ensure the long-term protection of water resources. The Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit operates one of the longest and most extensive monitoring programs in the world measuring the impacts of multiple stressors on freshwater ecosystems. Their findings have effected environmental clean-up efforts locally as well as contributing to national and even international efforts to ensure cleaner water.

Currently, Dr. Gunn is leading an effort to build a new research centre called the “Living With the Lakes Centre” at Laurentian University. The Centre will focus regional efforts in an attempt to protect and restore local watersheds. It is expected that these local achievements will provide a blueprint for similar undertakings globally.

John Gunn has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Alumni Achievement Award (research and public education) from the University of Guelph and the President’s Award for Conservation from the American Fisheries Society. Dr. Gunn’s career has been built on the premise that protection and recovery of ecological resources is dependent upon a combination of good science and cooperation among citizens, industry and government at all levels.

Nominating Agency: Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

James Myslik

James Myslik has left a lasting mark on the conservation of natural resources in Ontario, particularly in matters related to water. During his forty year career with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Jim has undertaken a number of key initiatives for the province that have contributed significantly to water research and education. Further, he has taken an active interest in encouraging and guiding young professionals and engineers in the conservation of Ontario’s natural resources.

Jim began his career with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (“OMAF”) (as the ministry was then known) in 1969. He put his degree in Agricultural Engineering (Hydrology) to immediate use as OMAF’s water engineer and soon became the “go-to guy” for other professionals in the field. Over the course of his career, Jim has helped to elevate the profile of water management policy and programs throughout Ontario.

Jim Myslik’s efforts were essential in the conception and formulation of the Ontario Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) – a plan that became the foundation for agri-environmental action in the Province for the past sixteen years. Jim co-developed program materials as well as helped to develop the Best Management Practices information series. The EFP concept has now been adopted by all Canadian provinces.

Jim played a pivotal role the development and implementation of the Rural Water Quality Program where he facilitated input from farmers representing over 40 agriculture commodity groups. This program is a provincially recognized success story and has supported 1,150 agri-environmental best practices, each of which contains an Environmental Farm Plan.

An active interest in encouraging and guiding professionals and the public in the conservation of Ontario’s natural resources for the past forty years have established James Myslik as an environmental champion and Pioneer.

Nominating Agency: Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority

Harold Parker

Harold Parker has been a committed steward of the land for all of his life. A 5th generation farmer, Harold has always believed that the land should be passed on to the next generation in better condition that when you received it. As a landowner, he placed his property under a woodlot management program with the Ministry of Natural Resources. For four decades, Harold and his family have been planting shrubs and trees on the property which over time has resulted in a considerable wildlife habitat.

For the past 35 years, Harold has been a key figure within the Nottawasaga Valley watershed with regards to environmental issues and solutions. His life-long involvement with what is now known as the Internationally Significant Minesing Wetlands has ensured that Harold’s name is synonymous with the environmental health of this area. For decades, he has volunteered his time and provided the Ministry of Natural Resources with information concerning areas of concern within and around the Minesing Wetland. Harold’s ability to recognize long term environmental concerns and his ability to develop both corrective and preventative plans has had significant benefits for the long-term integrity of the Minesing Wetland and the Nottawasaga Valley watershed.

As a member of the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority’s executive committee and later Chairman, Harold headed the fundraising efforts of the Nottawasaga Foundation for the construction of the John L. Jose Environmental Learning Centre. He also initiated the process of having the Minesing Wetlands designated as an Internationally Significant Ramsar Wetland.

Today, Harold remains an active director of “Friends of Minesing Wetlands” – a group of which he is a founding member. He continues to address service clubs, schools on the merits of land stewardship and still hosts visits from Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and various other groups on the family’s property.

Nominating Agency: Gray Sauble Conservation Authority

Lorne Smith

Lorne Smith is a teacher. He chose teaching as his profession and taught for many years at various locations throughout Dufferin and Wellington County. Throughout his career Lorne believed in a handson approach to nature and passed on a love of nature to his students. His classroom always had a “nature” theme and on more than one occasion included the hatching of mallard and pheasant eggs.

Lorne has been retired now for 25 years and is still teaching. A self-described “bit of a nature nut”, he has been a conservationist since he was a child. He is now known by another moniker – the “Bluebird Man.” The Eastern Bluebird population in Southern Ontario has been in decline for many years as urban sprawl has replaced their natural habitat. Since joining the Sydenham Sportsmen’s Club in 1983, he has spearheaded the construction of over 6,000 bluebird nesting boxes from Orangeville all the way north to Manitoulin Island. Once completed, (often from scrap lumber), the boxes have a useful life of ten years and each of the boxes is subject to annual inspection and maintenance. Lorne’s passion for nature has been infectious. Today there are over 120 volunteers involved in the annual maintenance of the boxes. Lorne, his wife Mabel, and friend, Bob, are responsible for the upkeep of 600 of the bluebird boxes by themselves! Lorne’s efforts are credited with helping to reestablish the once declining species.

Lorne has educated thousands of children and adults. He continues to speak about Bluebirds with cubs, brownies, and scouts as well as elementary schools and retirement homes. His efforts have been recognized by Sydenham Sportsmen’s Association, which has recognized him as “Adult Conservationist of the Year” on two separate occasions. Lorne’s newest project involves working with an Owen Sound school in the development of a nature trail along the east side of Owen Sound that will eventually join the Tom Thompson Trail. Lorne’s conservation legacy continues to grow.

Nominating Agency: Severn Sound Environmental Association

Bob Whittam

Bob Whittam is a life-long naturalist who has enjoyed a forty year career in conservation that has been varied in its breadth and scope. He has worked as the chief bird bander at Long Point Bird Observatory; as a naturalist at Bon Echo Provincial Park, on fish at the Royal Ontario Museum, as well as developing interpretive programs for the 1,000 Islands National Park. While with the Canadian Wildlife Service in Ottawa, Bob completed natural heritage inventories for Cap Tourment National Wildlife Area and Perce Rock National Park.

Bob’s most significant accomplishments in conservation however, came when he was appointed as Executive Director of the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre. Bob spent twenty four years in this position mentoring staff and the public alike. As a testament to his outstanding knowledge of birds, plants, insects and general ecology, many of his former staff members have since accepted significant positions with environmental conservation organizations nation-wide. It was Bob’s passion for and commitment to his work that enabled the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre to remain open to this day when all other wildlife centres across the country have since been closed due to budget constraints. Bob spearheaded fundraising efforts that resulted in the Centre being operated successfully on a non-profit basis under the direction of the Friends of Wye Marsh.

Bob Whittam’s work has been widely recognized. He has received awards from the local Rotary Club and Business Association in Midland, the Ontario Lieutenant Governor and the Silver Jubilee medal from the Queen. His role was so valued by the Severn Sound Remedial Action Plan that they have created the “Bob Whittam Environmental Award” which recognizes individuals who exemplify environmental advocacy and stewardship to the Severn Sound watershed. Through all of this, Bob has always taken the time to recognize the good work of others and doesn’t look for recognition himself. He continues to be one of nature’s strongest advocates.


2007 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

Deborah Beatty

Deborah Beatty is currently the volunteer President of the Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation and the Helen McCrea Peacock Foundation, two important organizations that provide funding for environmental projects. She has been a committed environmentalist for most of her life, working with nature or working to save nature, and now devotes her full working life to this issue. Deborah brings an enormous passion and conviction to her roles in these organizations, and she also evangelizes these beliefs to those who know her personally.

In addition to her work in the aforementioned foundations, Deborah has also been a board member of the Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition and the Ladies of the Lake. She has been an active member of the Garden Club of Toronto since 1981 and a key organizer of the Canada Blooms Festival. In addition, she has been a dedicated Toronto Community Foundation Board Member since 2000 and was awarded the Belchen/Gorby Award in 2005.

Most importantly, Deborah spent most of her life finding ways to become “greener”. Some of these initiatives have included using only biodegradable products in her home and urging all her neighbours to do the same. She also began composting well before the green bin was introduced, and grew organic produce in her yard. Deborah is not afraid of personal sacrifice to make a difference and is very conscious and passionate about the environment and expresses this concern to others.

Her actions have and continue to inspire many individuals in our communities. Deborah’s spirit and outstanding contributions are truly remarkable.

Nominating Agency: Hamilton Conservation Authority

Bruce Duncan

Bruce Duncan came to be known early in his career, probably first by the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club while working as a nature interpreter at the Taquanyah Nature Centre where he initiated a hacking program for Bald Eagles. The successful program helped to bring back the Bald Eagle to the north shores of Lake Erie. He worked 11 years for the Grand River Conservation Authority prior to joining the Hamilton Conservation Authority for 18 years when he began as a nature outdoor educator at the Merrick Field Centre. In 1992 Bruce became the ecologist for the Authority and through this work he became better known in the community, especially with the different agencies and groups responsible for the environment. In 2003, Bruce took on the position as Director of Watershed Planning and Engineering for the Hamilton Conservation Authority and in one year was promoted to the General Manager’s role.

In addition to his accomplishments with the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club and the Conservation Authorities, Bruce was also a past president of the Ontario Bird Banding Association. In 1992 he received the honour of being the Environmentalist of the Year in Hamilton, by then he also had received the Canada 125 Award for Environmental Service to the Community. In 1997, Bruce was awarded an accolade from the Hawk Migration Association of North America.

Bruce was a storyteller and a beautiful writer. He was a passionate conservationist and outdoorsman who loved to teach school children in and around Hamilton about the plant and animal life in their surroundings. He was a prolific contributor to books and scholarly articles on eagles, hawks and natural history in Ontario. In his 60 years, Bruce taught many and accomplished a great deal. Hamilton and its area continue to benefit from having had Bruce Duncan in their community.

Nominating Agency: Toronto and Region Conservation

Michael Hough

Michael Hough’s distinguished career has progressed through many professional avenues including private consulting practitioner, academic teacher, respected author and community activist. He was the founding partner of Hough, Stansbury & Associates in 1963 and has continued with the firm as it has evolved today into Envision – The Hough Group. He was also a founder of the School of Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto and more recently has taught as Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, as well as Harvard. Michael has travelled extensively for many years lecturing and providing leadership through academic endeavors and practice. He has lead several generations of landscape architects in Canada and abroad in articulating an ecological view of planning and design that encompasses a consideration of nature and society, as a functioning whole. His books are widely distributed in the world and include Cities and Natural Processes, Out of Place: Restoring Identity to the Regional Landscape and People and City Landscapes.

Trained as an architect and landscape architect, Michael has bridged several professional disciplines to bring a new view to urban design and site planning. He has tirelessly mentored staff for 40 years within his consulting practice, students within various academic programs where he has taught, and through community efforts and volunteer leadership. Over the years, he lead a movement of design thinking that has evolved into a foundation for today’s urban agenda for healthier built communities and natural systems. In addition to his writings, and award winning research, Michael has left a legacy of landmark design projects which form anchors in the urban environment at Scarborough College, Ontario Place, Major Hill’s Park – Ceremonial Route (Ottawa), and many others here and abroad.

Nominating Agency: Mississippi Valley Conservation

Ted Mosquin

Ted Mosquin has had a distinguished career as a university professor, researcher and policy advisor deeply committed to involving governments and the public in a greater understanding of our ecologically intertwined world. He was deeply involved in many biodiversity studies and policy development in addition to being a member and major contributor on the Canadian delegation negotiating the Rio 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity. Ted also worked on drafting the 1995 Canadian Biodiversity Strategy, and was the principal author of the Museum of Nature’s Country Study of Biodiversity. He has researched, coordinated, authored and edited articles, reports and books on endangered and threatened species, natural history, ecology and the ecosphere.

Not just a researcher and author, he was the first President and Executive Director of the Canadian Nature Federation, President of CPAW S, and director of numerous other similar boards concerned with conservation and the environment. To all these organizations he brought a deep knowledge that enhanced their integrity and a quiet passion that gave them life. It is no wonder that the Government of Canada (Department of the Environment) put his name forward for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal for his conservation work.

While Ted was busy contributing to international, national and regional levels, he was also focused on local issues. In a formal capacity, he is a valued member of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Foundation and was the spark and driving force for the creation of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust Conservancy in 2003, of which he is the President.

Ted is a genuine and sincere conservationist with modesty who leads the way by example. His love of nature and his passion for the Purdon Conservation Area led to the creation of a nature trail into the highland forest area surrounding the fen. In 2005, Ted oversaw the construction of the trail that now bears his name. His accomplishments are diverse and many will remain a focal point for years to come.

Nominating Agency: Kawartha Conservation

Lou Wise

Lou Wise has been capturing the landscape of Southern Ontario via airplane and camera for over 30 years. He has taken thousands of images of Ontario’s waterways, including most of the Oak Ridges Moraine and the waters that flow outward from it. He has generously shared his talent and images with many organizations, including several conservation authorities. His work has been instrumental in compelling donors to give, and politicians to rethink development plans – all for the cost of gas and film!

Lou had been taking aerial photographs from rented aircraft as a hobby since the 1970’s, but it wasn’t until 1980 that his efforts were directed toward the conservation of the environment. While still working full time as Director of Educational Media for the Toronto Board of Education, Lou often took aerial photos of landmarks that interested him. Upon retiring in 1984, Lou continued to capture the landscapes from his own Piper Cherokee and his enthusiasm for the environment is as great as ever. In 1988 he acquired the funds to undertake a three year project to photograph 150 Class 1 wetlands across Southern Ontario from Windsor to Cornwall and up into the Muskokas.

Much of his work continued in the early 1990s when he became interested in the Oak Ridges Moraine. After consulting with conservationists and educators about what material might be useful, Lou continues shooting photos of diverse subjects within the Moraine such as kettle lakes, headwaters of rivers, gravel pits, car wrecking yards, urban settlements and more. He makes these photos available for schools and conservationists who use them widely. Today, he also focuses his interest on the tributaries of the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, the Duffins Creek Watershed, the Nottawasaga Valley Watershed and the Niagara Escarpment.

Lou Wise boasts an extended list of accomplishments with a clear emphasis on education and guidance, promoting conservation principles through aerial photography and a truly personal inspiration for the environment.


2006 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority

Sally Beaton

Born in Richmond, Ontario in 1921, Sally Beaton was already something of a pioneer in the area of municipal politics! In 1972, she was the first woman to be elected to the Goulbourn Township Council, where she served for seven years. In 1981 she ran and was elected Reeve of Lanark Township, and remained for 13 years. During her time in municipal politics, she became involved in the conservation community. Her pioneering spirit and outstanding contributions have left a rich and lasting legacy.

Sally joined the board of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority in 1972, becoming actively involved on the executive committee in 1975, and in 1981 she became the first female Chair of Mississippi Valley Conservation. In twenty five years of service with MVC, Sally was an integral part of several committees, and provincially she was the first female chair of the Eastern Region Chapter of the Association of Conservation Authorities (now Conservation Ontario).

Some of her more notable accomplishments and initiatives include:

  • Spearheading the creation of various publications for the MVC, to promote its programs and to inform the public about water conservation issues and projects, using displays, slide shows and literature to foster community awareness.
  • Playing an active role in the acquisition and preservation of the Purdon Conservation Area, and lobbying for the installation of a specially designed boardwalk, completed in 1986, which allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of the colonies of Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchids.
  • Redesigning conservation education programs to focus on water management and conservation themes-programs to teach students about conservation activities to promote awareness and appreciation. In twenty five years some 48,000 children have benefited from the programs offered by the MVC at the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area.

Nominating Agency: Moon Point Homeowners Association

Robert Bowles

A retired Ontario Hydro engineer, Bob took an interest in nature and the environment around him and has gone on to become an established naturalist and ecotourism specialist. His contributions to environment and species research and conservation over the past 30 years have earned him a great deal of He is a founding member of nineteen Professional Affiliations, among them the Twin Lakes Conservation Club, the Orillia Naturalists Club, the Carden Field Naturalists, the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. He is also a columnist for the ‘Orillia Packet and Times’ and ‘The Muskokan’, and has published many documents, including studies and checklists of species and plantlife in the District of Muskoka and surrounding areas.

Bob has also taught night courses at Georgian College, and has conducted staff training workshops, seminars and lectures on a wide variety of nature related subject matter. He has also helped in tracking harmful invasive species, such as the Asian Longhorned Beetle.

Currently, Bob is Executive Trip Director for the Midland based Boots Adventure Tours, where he leads ecotours to areas in the Galapagos Island, the Amazon River, Mexico and Cuba.

He also devotes much of his time to working with children, through environmental presentations, field trips with schools and acting as camp director for summer camps. One of Bob’s recent projects is his role as special advisor for Lake Country Kids for Turtles, a group dedicated to raising awareness about and preventing the extinction of turtles and other reptiles due to deaths while crossing roadways. Research and identification of problem areas and setting up turtle crossing signs in those areas are some of the group’s main activities.

Bob Bowles boasts an extended list of accomplishments with a clear emphasis on youth education and guidance, ensuring that these and future generations remain aware of land and species conservation principles.

Nominating Agency: Ontario Nature

Ron Reid

Having majored in fish and wildlife biology at the University of Guelph, Ron has made significant contributions to the conservation community, specifically in the areas of park creation and research publications.

Ron is the founder and one of the key driving forces behind the Couchiching Conservancy, and has been its Executive Director since 2002. This is arguably the most successful Ontario Land Trust with 18 properties owned or under Management amounting to 1806.5 acres of land.

One of Ron’s major accomplishments came when he served as Great Lakes St. Lawrence Coordinator for the Partnership for Public Lands from 1997 to 1999. Ron was a key strategist during the Lands for Life/Ontario Living Legacy (OLL) process resulting in many new Parks and protected areas under OLL (such as the Spanish River Park and much of the Eastern Shore of Georgian Bay).

Ron has numerous publications to his credit, among them his co-authorship of Creative Conservation: a handbook for Ontario land trusts. He is considered the “Founding Father” of the Ontario Land Trust Movement and helped form the Ontario Nature Trust Alliance (now Ontario Land Trust Alliance). He also co-authored Towards a Conservation Strategy for Carolinian Canada – Background and Issues and Options, and has worked with private landowners for conservation with Carolinian Canada.

Other publications include Beyond Islands of Green: A Primer for Using Conservation Science to Select and Design Community-Based Nature Reserves, Canoeing Ontario’s Rivers, Islands of Green. He has had over 30 articles published in magazines including Macleans, Cottage Life, and Nature Canada, in addition to newspapers such as The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and The Ottawa Citizen.

Ron Reid’s pioneering efforts and leadership skills have made for an exemplary body of work in the field of conservation. His accomplishments are diverse and many and will be a focal point for years to come.

Nominating Agency: Grand River Conservation Authority

George S. Stormont

With a background in advertising and communications in the insurance industry, George embarked on a 22 year career at the Grand River Conservation Authority in 1969 as Director of Communications. He brought with him a professional, outgoing, enthusiastic attitude, and made an immediate impact on many levels.

He pioneered a program he dubbed “Lands for Learning”, which would see Conservation Authority lands shared with watershed school boards to provide hands-on, curriculum-related outdoor education studies. The program expanded quickly, and by 1981 the Lands for Learning program had broadened its scope to include four permanent nature centres for school learning providing four different school boards with quality outdoor education for students.

Another of George’s significant accomplishments is in the production of GRCA educational movies and videos about the Grand River, acting as technical advisor. One of his personal favourites was the animated film S.P.L.A.S.H., produced in cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada. These films brought conservation concepts, more specifically the importance of the river and the water cycle, to a much wider audience.

George also had a hand in the formation of the volunteer-based Grand Valley Conservation Foundation in 1965, which has raised over $10 million since its inception, and has undertaken many conservation projects, such as major reforestation work, land acquisition and trail development to name a few. The Foundation’s successful “Grand River Reflections” coffee table book was the result of another of George’s smart marketing ideas.

George’s dedicated vision, hard work and marketing savvy have laid a solid foundation for conservation authorities in Ontario. The approaches and concepts developed during his tenure were truly innovative and will continue to serve as enduring inspiration.


2005 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Grand River Conservation Authority

Anthony Smith

Dr. Anthony Smith has had an extensive career with the Grand River Conservation Authority and has demonstrated his ability to bring both people and agencies together to work toward one common goal: conservation. Anthony’s work on the Grand River Basin Water Management Study represented a milestone achievement for the GCRA. Before his retirement in 2003, he was actively involved in extremely significant projects both internationally and within Canada but is now still actively involved in the Water Managers Working Group.

Over the years, Anthony’s efforts have contributed greatly to the Grand River Conservation Authority’s reputation as a leading-edge watershed management agency as his influence is far-reaching and significant not only within the Grand River watershed but also provincially and nationally.

Nominating Agency: Hamilton Region Conservation Authority

Ben Vanderbrug

Founding General Manager of the Hamilton Conservation Authority and staunch supporter of the Hamilton community, Ben Vanderbrug has served the environment and his community for more than 45 years. Through Ben’s work, the HCA initiated a hands-on outdoor environmental education program that has expanded significantly over the years, benefiting well over 300,000 students in his community.

His lifetime commitment to the Ontario conservation movement has left Hamilton and many generations of its citizens with a legacy of more than 10,000 acres of protected natural areas and open green space. Although now retired, Ben continues to be actively involved in his community and conservation efforts.

Nominating Agency: Soil and Water Conservation Society – Ontario Chapter, Ausable-Bayfield Conservation Authority and Maitland Valley Conservation Authority

Donald Lobb

A leader in soil and water conservation in Huron County for over 20 years, Donald Lobb is a farmer dedicated to innovation and conservation both locally and nationally. He was instrumental in organizing the grassroots organization ‘Huron Soil and Water Conservation District’ and became the founding Director of Soil Conservation Canada in 1987.

His vision is an inspiration to students at all levels and researchers alike – and his dedication is like none other for he even offers his land as a key area to facilitate their studies on sustainable land use. Cleary, through his example and vision, Don is one of the most significant pioneers in soil and water conservation.

Nominating Agency: Frontenac Stewardship Council, Ministry of Natural Resources

Gray Merriam

A world-renowned Landscape Ecologist, Gray Merriam has dedicated most of his life to promoting environmental conservation and good land stewardship and volunteering within his community.

For close to 50 years, Dr. Gray Merriam has had a profound impact on the young minds of this province, shaping the views of many of today’s decision makers. He has led the way in landscape ecology research nationally and abroad. He has had a direct impact on our ecosystem’s health through various restoration projects. And today, though retired, he continues to lead by example as he helps build the community’s capacity to take greater responsibility for stewardship-related decisions.

Nominating Agency: Nickel District Conservation Authority

David Pearson

A Full Professor for the Department of Earth Sciences, Dr. Pearson has played leadership roles in provincial and community-based environmental organizations ever since his arrival in Canada from England in 1969 and continues to support both individuals and groups working towards building sustainable communities.

As a professor, he has inspired many students but his reach extends far beyond the halls of the university. Dr. Pearson has written, hosted and appeared on both radio and television programs that have been broadcast nation-wide. His wonderful ability to communicate complex scientific information to all audiences has been recognized on numerous occasions, demonstrating his ability to promote and communicate science to the general public and students.


2004 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Grey Sauble Conservation Authority/Ministry of the Environment and Niagara Escarpment Commission

Malcom Kirk

Through the efforts of Malcolm (Mac) Kirk, people living in Grey and Bruce Counties now enjoy healthier woodlands, swamps, and headwater regions for major rivers, gorges, fens, lakes, islands, waterfalls, bluffs, and caves. Mac is a driving force for important conservation issues such as land acquisition, tighter escarpment control lobbying, woodlot protection, wetland preservation, better land planning and most recently, water extraction.

Nominating Agency: Rideau Valley Conservation Authority

Patrick J. McManus

Over his long career as a conservationist, Patrick J. McManus played a central role in the early growth and development of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority as well as others in Eastern Ontario. Pat has always been a strong advocate for “conservation by the people”. He was always in the thick of things, championing the need for a provincial organization for the Conservation Authorities, seeing it as the only way to gain the critical mass and lobbying strength necessary to counter non-conservation interests. The education building at the Baxter Conservation Area was named the P.J McManus Interpretive Centre in 1990 because of Pat’s life-long passion for teaching young people about the environment.

Nominating Agency: Catfish Creek Conservation Authority

Dr. Duncan Sinclair

Dr. Duncan Sinclair has been very active for many years in the areas of forestry, fisheries and wildlife conservation at many different levels.

His greatest strength has always been advocacy. He has the ability to make things happen and he sets a positive example through both action and commitment. Dr. Sinclair has ensured new sources of private sector funding to protect and rehabilitate sensitive ecosystems, particularly in Canada’s most endangered region of biodiversity, the Carolinian Life Zone.

Nominating Agency: Lower Trent Conservation

Maria and Paul Heissler

Maria Heissler and her husband, Paul Heissler, have been active environmental stewards since moving to the Quinte area in 1953. Over the years, their farm along Cold Creek has become a model of wise land management and a testimony to their strong belief in conservation. In addition to planting thousands of trees, Paul and Maria spearheaded the formation of the Cold Creek Improvement Association in 1989 with the intent of influencing their neighbours to follow their philosophy of land use.

Nominating Agency: Soil and Water Conservation Society – Ontario Chapter

David Cressman

Dave Cressman has been an important figure in the advancement of conservation principles and practice in the Province of Ontario. He has devoted his professional life and much of his volunteer time to promoting conservation ethics and the interdisciplinary approaches to understanding environmental issues. Dave has been a mentor to many young professionals including several agricultural and environmental specialists employed in a variety of positions across Canada.


2003 Leadership Awards Program Handout

Nominating Agency: Otonabee Region Conservation Authority

Ron Scott

Ron has provided 17 years of service to conservation in the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority watershed. His involvement has included several positions within the Authority including:

  • Member of the Water Management Advisory Board from 1986-1993
  • Chair of the Watershed Management Advisory Board from 1987-1989
  • Member of the Board of Directors from 1986 until 1992 , holding both Chair and Vice-Chair positions.

Appointed to the Board of Directors of the Otonabee Region Conservation Foundation in 1991, Ron has held the position of Chair from 1999 until present. During this time, he has also been actively involved with the A.D. Latornell Conservation Symposium, sitting on the Steering Committee and assuming responsibility for the Silent Auction.

A teacher by day, Ron was instrumental in the establishment and ongoing activities of the Norwood Young Conservationists Club. He is also well known for creating the “Scott Model” for watershed management which developed into the Trent Conservation Coalition.

In addition to his conservation duties, Ron is also an active member of his local community. He has served as President of the Norwood Lions Club, Associate Director of the Norwood Agricultural Fair, and Charter Member of the Norwood Horticultural Society.

In his “spare time”, Ron plays the Bag Pipes, loves to travel, enjoys fishing and gardening. He is married to Elaine and has three children; Andrew, Kerstin and Lindsay.

Nominating Agency:

Jack MacPherson

For nearly 40 years, Jack MacPherson has been an innovator in the areas of hydrology and flood forecasting computer programs. Largely self-taught, Jack has worked in both the public and private sector. Throughout his career he has shown a commitment to:

  • Improving our understanding of the consequences of flooding
  • Developing a better understanding of hydrological cycle and its impact on humans
  • Using this information to assist Conservation Authorities to fulfill their flood warning and flood forecasting mandates by developing specialized computer program packages
  • Working to continuously improve these programs
  • Encouraging standardization of the programs, tools and equipment used in flood forecasting

During his career Jack has been involved in:

  • The development of floodplain mapping for various urban and rural areas
  • Numerous floodplain policy studies
  • Watershed studies for several Conservation Authorities
  • The design and construction of weirs, dams and flood control channels
  • The creation of a real time flood forecast model currently being used by a number of Conservation Authorities
  • The network design and analysis of flood warning systems for nine Conservation Authorities
  • Assisting with the development and design of Provincial Flood Warning Criteria

Always generous with his time and expertise, Jack has been a willing teacher, conveying his knowledge of watershed to colleagues and the general public. Jack is well respected by his peers and upon his retirement this year, will leave a legacy using innovative approaches to upgrading our flood forecasting capabilities and improving our capacity to protect lives and property.

Nominating Agency:

Arthur Herbert Richardson

A.H. Richardson is one of Ontario’s great conservation pioneers. He had a hand in forming 31 of the province’s conservation authorities. A.H. Richardson had exceptional skills on how to market and communicate the conservation message to the people of the province. By teaching forest conservation to boy scouts, he was attempting to instill in youth a heightened regard for the complex relation between man, animals and nature. He wrote many publications, but one in particular – The Ganaraska Report – set the stage for the future.

Monuments to his public service are spread throughout the Province in the form of parks, playgrounds, swimming areas, flood control and reforestation projects, pioneer villages and land use demonstrations. One such place is Richardson’s Lookout, which was dedicated to Mr. Richardson in 1964. This location takes in a spectacular view of the Ganaraska Watershed where it all began. Richardson described it as a place where you can absorb the splendour of man’s work in harmony with nature.

With his drive, determination and leadership, he was a major player in the advancement of forestry in Canada. Mr. Richardson always thought that it was important to bring the government to the people.

Mr. Richardson retired after 41 years of service with the provincial government at 71 years of age. During his 10 years of retirement, he wrote the book Conservation for the People. The completion of the book seemed to be a signal that he had finished what he wanted to do in his life.

Nominating Agency:

Greta McGillivray

Born 74 years ago on her parents farm atop the Niagara Escarpment near Belfountain, Greta McGillivray (nee Jepson) and her sisters walked and cross-country skied the 2.2 miles up and down the mountain to the country school house. She has often said that she learned more about life, about flora and fauna, about the intricate interdependence of all life systems on her way to and from school than she ever learned in school.

Raising her six children in Collingwood Ontario, eventually, an emptying nest allowed Greta’s protective, nurturing and advocacy skills to expand beyond child-rearing to focus on the greater natural world surrounding her. The last twenty years have seen her emerge as a fierce and tireless defender of the environment.

Among her many accomplishments:

  • Founding member and President of the Senior Leagues Endowment Society of Collingwood, Inc., and organization which raised over $100,000 to purchase and preserve the Feversham Gorge
  • Chair and Public Liaison Coordinator for the Georgian Triangle Waste Management Master Plan
  • Participated in the Collingwood Harbour Remedial Action Plan – de-listing of the Harbour as a Great Lakes Area of Concern
  • Organized Earth Day celebrations and tree planting throughout Collingwood
  • Served two terms on the Niagara Escarpment Commission
  • Director of the Ontario Heritage Foundation
  • Organized a public meeting to discuss water quality and quantity problems. Subsequently the Ministry of Environment provided funding for the AEMOT Groundwater Management Study

Greta is the founding member and Co-President (and environmental conscience) of the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation. The BMWTF has run out of the back of her house and Greta has answered telephone inquiries 24-7 on a volunteer basis, ensuring that the organization’s time and funds raised are spent on in-ground projects, not administration. The BMWTF has assisted with the planting of over 260,000 trees, administered the $100,000 Beaver River Water Quality Improvement Project (47 rehabilitation projects). The BMWTF is also working with the Town of Collingwood to preserve the Silver Creek Wetlands on the southern shores of Georgian Bay. At Council in December of 2001, she encouraged the Town to enact an Interim Control By-Law thus preventing the developers to proceed immediately with construction of an 18-hole golf course in this Provincially Significant Wetland. The Trust has backed the Town in the subsequent OMB hearing. Currently, the Trust is rallying public support to oppose the Castle Glen Resort Community which proposed three golf courses and a 5,000-person town on the slopes of the Niagara Escarpment in an area of extremely vulnerable Karst topography.

Greta was named to the Order of Collingwood several years ago and received the “Companions of the Order of Collingwood” in 2003.

Nominating Agency:

William McLean

Since his conservation career began in 1959, Bill has dedicated his energy and efforts towards the protection of greenspace and the natural resources of our region. Upon graduating in geography from McMaster University in 1959, Bill joined the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority as a Conservation Area Planner. He became Conservation Area Administrator in 1961 and was appointed Director of an Interagency Task Force to establish a Waterfront Division at MTRCA in 1970. As the first Administrator of the Waterfront Division, Bill was instrumental in developing a system of waterfront access and recreation sites over the 50 km stretch of waterfront. He also initiated shoreline management measures such as erosion protection works and regulations controlling shoreline alterations. Bill served as the Director of Planning and Policy from 1975 to 1981. In this capacity, he helped prepare a comprehensive Watershed Plan setting new directions and priorities for MTRCA. Bill became Deputy General Manager in 1981 and was seconded to the Conservation Authorities Branch of the Ministry of Natural Resources in 1982 to prepare a Provincial Strategy for Conservation Authority Waterfront Programs. Upon his return to MTRCA, Bill was appointed General Manager in 1983, a position which he held until his retirement in 1992.

When he retired from MTRCA, Bill directed his energy and dedication to The Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto. He’s been a prominent member of the Conservation Foundation since 1992, including a four-year term as President.

In addition, he was a member of the Canadian Water Resources Association and the Soil and Water Conservation Society of America, and he was President of the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. Throughout his career, he was a big supporter of the Association of Conservation Authorities of Ontario, now Conservation Ontario. Bill has also been an active member of his community through his involvement in the Rotary Club, the Runneymede.


Hal Hooke,
Terry Sprague,
Jim Bruce,
Terk Bayly,
Rheal Proulx,
Tom Millar,
Peter Harvie


Ken Mayall,
Murray Miller,
Douglas Hoffman,
Elwood Moore,
George R. Richardson,
Gordon Oldfield


Jim Bauer,
Janet Fletcher,
Harry Barrett,
Trevor Dickinson,
Ray Lowes,
Bob Burgar


John Murray,
Charles Alexander,
Len Johnson,
Dr. David Ankney,
Christine Nornabell,
Russell Piper,
Mac Coutts,
Ken Higgs